Cold, wet Christmas in forecast - East Valley Tribune: News

Cold, wet Christmas in forecast

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Posted: Wednesday, December 24, 2008 11:39 am | Updated: 8:58 pm, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

Before Santa made his rounds in the Valley, let's hope he first de-iced his sleigh and reindeer.

Cold, wet weather was expected to arrive late Christmas Eve and linger into Friday. The National Weather Service is forecasting a half-inch to an inch of rain falling intermittently in the Valley, with 1 to 2 inches possible over higher terrain.

Snow levels will remain above 5,500 feet through this evening before dropping rapidly as a cold front moves through.

On Friday morning, levels will lower to 3,500 feet - which would affect the tops of the Superstitions and McDowells - with accumulations of up to 4 inches possible above 4,500 feet.

In Arizona's high country, accumulations could reach 2 feet. Falling snow combined with strong wind gusts could create dangerous driving conditions, the Arizona Department of Public Safety warned.

Driving conditions can be found at az511.com or by dialing 5-1-1.

Today's daytime high in the Valley may top out at about 60 degrees, the weather service said, before falling to the lower 50s on Friday. Adding to the Christmas chill will be winds as strong as 25 mph with gusts up to 35 mph.

Typically in the Valley, the high on Christmas is 65 degrees and it rains about once every nine years.

Wednesday's high was 61 degrees. Once the storm passes, clearing skies and dry air will lead to a big drop in temperatures on Friday night into early Saturday. The overnight lows for that night are forecast to plummet to the mid-20s to mid-30s in the Valley. The weather service is considering issuing a freeze warning for that night.

Over the weekend, mostly clear skies and stable conditions are expected, with highs in the Valley staying in the upper 50s.

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