Flagstaff’s mountainous location means it receives snowfall every winter and early spring, making it a popular ski destination. Arizona Snowbowl can stay open as late as late November until mid June in some years – an impressive winter sports facility!
This town is nestled amidst mountains and ponderosa pine forests, boasting hiking trails adorned with blooming wildflowers in spring. Additionally, it’s an International Dark Sky City that allows for incredible stargazing experiences.
1. Winter Weather Advisory
Once the car is loaded and the GPS set, your family is prepared for their journey up to the Grand Canyon. But first, check the weather.
The National Weather Service in Flagstaff has issued a Winter Weather Advisory through Friday morning, warning of heavy snowfall and slippery roads in the area. As advised by their Winter Weather Advisories, residents should winterize their vehicles, prepare an emergency supply kit, and avoid all unnecessary travel during this high-impact winter storm period.
Due to the winter storm warning issued for Flagstaff area businesses on Thursday, several were closed, including Northern Arizona University which announced its Flagstaff campus would open late with reduced staffing requirements and be delayed opening with delayed opening times. Coconino Community College and city of Flagstaff suspended non-essential services as well.
Wintery conditions have led to numerous traffic accidents in Arizona’s East Valley region, some resulting in serious injuries. According to Arizona Department of Transportation reports, multiple spinouts occurred near Power and McDowell roads on Loop 202 Red Mountain near Power/McDowell roads near Red Mountain on Loop 202 Red Mountain near Power/McDowell roads near Power/McDowell roads near Red Mountain on Loop 202 Red Mountain near Power/McDowell roads; snowfall also forced several parks within its borders – Petrified Forest National Park, Montezuma Castle National Monument, Tuzigoot National Monument are all closed due to weather-induced closure.
2. Winter Storm Warning
Flagstaff, Doney Park and Forest Lakes in northern Arizona have been issued a winter storm warning by the National Weather Service in Flagstaff for anticipated 6-12 inches of snow to fall across their regions with accumulation rates as fast as several inches per hour in certain spots.
Wind gusts could reach 35-40 mph in some locations and blowing snow could reduce visibility, according to the National Weather Service (NWS). A slippery driving condition is anticipated from Saturday through Tuesday according to NWS and could make traveling challenging, especially for those unfamiliar with these conditions.
On Wednesday night, a storm system moved across central and northern Arizona, producing heavy snowfall at higher elevations in Mogollon Rim area. The area set a new single-day snowfall record, with most locations reporting two-three foot accumulation.
The NWS advised drivers to equip their vehicles with chains and refrain from traveling during the period of greatest impact. If necessary, those who must drive should stay clear of snowplows, using low gears to reduce skidding risks. Many schools were cancelled on Thursday; among these are University of Northern Arizona, Coconino Community College as well as Payson, Holbrook Williams and Hopi Reservation schools.
3. Winter Weather Advisories
Flagstaff is experiencing one of its most significant winter storms ever seen here, with potential snowfall accumulation reaching 2-to-3 feet in some mountain regions, creating hazardous travel conditions both this weekend and into Tuesday.
The National Weather Service has issued winter storm advisories and warnings for Flagstaff and parts of northern Arizona, starting this Sunday through Tuesday. Coconino Plateau, Yavapai County Mountains, Northern Gila County and White Mountains areas fall under winter storm warnings according to NWS; people should therefore remain off the roads and prepare for hazardous road conditions.
This map from the National Weather Service depicts snow accumulation as of Sunday evening, with over an inch of fresh snowfall across many areas. Yellow indicates areas under Winter Weather Advisories where individuals should expect hazardous road conditions.
As with rainfall, the growing season typically lasts 4.1 months and typically starts on May 30 and ends around October 1, rarely starting before April 17 or after August 13; these figures provide useful predictions of plant and crop development and yields.
4. Winter Storm Warnings
The National Weather Service has issued a Winter Storm Warning for Flagstaff and Northern Arizona until Friday morning, as this winter storm is expected to produce heavy amounts of snowfall, as well as gusts of 45 mph in mountainous regions – conditions which make travel extremely hazardous, particularly along Highway 89.
Weather-related closures of Flagstaff school districts have forced both NAU and Coconino Community College, Navajo County administrative offices and Flagstaff and Williams public schools to close, while Yavapai County offices have opened but with reduced staff levels; Prescott Valley and Humboldt Unified Districts are operating on two-hour delays.
At this peak period, the NWS advises residents to winterize their vehicle, pack an emergency supplies kit and avoid non-essential travel. In addition, elderly neighbors who may require assistance should be regularly checked upon.
FlightAware estimates that this snowstorm has resulted in over 1,200 flight delays and cancellations nationwide, as well as power outages affecting hundreds of homes in northern Arizona, with most being affected in Flagstaff and Prescott Valley.