Flagstaff sits higher up the mountain than Phoenix, so when it rains in Phoenix it often snows on Flagstaff’s high country ridges and valleys. This winter may well go down in Flagstaff history as one of its snowiest ever.
Flagstaff usually experiences snowfall from October through February. Below are images showing how much has fallen thus far this year.
January’s record snowfall of over 5 feet made January the fourth-snowiest month ever seen in Flagstaff history and overshadowed even that of 2010, according to an online post by the National Weather Service.
Heavy snowfall across northern Arizona has caused massive travel disruptions, with several highways closing and long delays on major roadways. But the heavy precipitation will also help replenish runoff from springtime melts when they inevitably begin.
Recent storms have given skiers in Flagstaff some unforgettable powder days at Arizona Ski Bowl. And with more snow forecasted for Flagstaff this winter season, perhaps Flagstaff will surpass its seasonal snowfall record set back in 1948-1949 (currently 153.9 inches), which would mark an astounding annual total since 1912. 184.3 inches were recorded as one winter season total during 1965; since then the highest annual total ever was 133-0 inches set by 1912. Click here to see all records.
On Thursday, Flagstaff and parts of northern Arizona were enveloped in more than three feet of powder due to a snow storm which brought state of emergencies in cities and counties across northern Arizona. Tourist attractions including Petrified Forest National Park, Montezuma Castle National Monument and Tuzigoot National Monument had to close due to this severe winter weather event, while State Route 87 between Payson and Winslow was closed as well.
According to climate records, 2022-23 has quickly become one of the snowiest seasons on record in Flagstaff. So far this year alone, Bellemont’s National Weather Service office in Flagstaff has recorded 146.7 inches – surpassing 2009-10’s previous record of 115.4 inches set between July-March.
City residents enjoy access to 700 lane miles of streets, 8 miles of alleys and 27,000 driveways that are plowing by equipment each winter. Although it takes multiple passes for all roadways to be ploughed completely, heavy snow loads help reduce wildfire risk during summer by keeping Mogollon Rim and other high elevation areas covered with snow cover.
A massive winter storm that hit Flagstaff and its surroundings this week helped propel this meteorological winter into the record books. According to Thursday, National Weather Service Flagstaff office reports that winter 2022-23 now ranks third snowiest since record keeping started back in 1898.
Arizona Snowbowl has seen some incredible powder days this winter, delighting local skiers who eagerly anticipate new tracks at Arizona Snowbowl. But unfortunately for motorists traveling I-40 this week, snowfall caused delays on Interstate 40 due to long delays caused by slippery roads.
Flagstaff typically experiences its first snowfall of the season in October or November; however, winter arrived early this year in northern Arizona, turning an otherwise barren landscape into a snow-covered wonderland and creating five-hour traffic jams on Wednesday night alone. On the upside, residents were able to celebrate holiday festivities in style thanks to this early snowfall!
On Wednesday night, an intense winter snowstorm hit northern Arizona and caused an insurmountable traffic jam from Kingman to Flagstaff. Slushy conditions made mobility impossible; motorists found themselves stuck for nearly five hours on Interstate-40 due to I-40 becoming so slippery.
This winter storm marked only the second snowstorm this season to bring more than 20 inches of snowfall to Flagstaff and surrounding areas, surpassing both records for July 1 through March 1, while also coming close to surpassing all-time seasonal totals ever recorded in Flagstaff.
The National Weather Service office in Flagstaff recently recorded 118.9 inches at Flagstaff Pulliam Airport since records began being kept in 1902. That total ranks second highest since records started being kept; 1948-1949 set the highest total with 153.9 inches being measured there.
Flagstaff experiences frequent rain in January and February. More days usually feature pure rainfall than mixed snow/rainfall events; however, several days with up to 10 inches of accumulation often do happen.
Flagstaff typically experiences rain, with an 8 percent chance of precipitation averaging 0.32 inches (8.1 millimeters) daily. Snow or winds may also occur. A typical day has an 8% chance of rainfall.
Windy conditions are common throughout spring and summer until monsoon rains arrive in late July/early August. Monsoon storms can be extremely hazardous, leading to multiple traffic collisions and road closures.
Tourism scores promote sunny, rainless days that are perceived as pleasant and warm; their constituents include temperature score, cloud cover score and precipitation score. Its peak time for general outdoor tourist activities typically occurs from mid June until mid July but can occur any other time as well; weather score lags behind tourism score but still compares favorably against most locations across the nation.