Flagstaff is an amazing place to live and visit, especially if you appreciate four distinct seasons. However, heavy snowfall can have devastating consequences.
This winter has been exceptionally snowy for New York City; 2022-2023 has already set records as being among the fifth snowiest seasons since records began being kept back in 1800s. But just how much snow has fallen already?
How Much Snow Has Fallen in Flagstaff This Year?
With winter storms pelting Arizona and producing record snowfall levels across the state, record amounts are being recorded across Arizona. One area particularly hard-hit has been Flagstaff where, according to the National Weather Service, 2022-23 could end up as the second-snowiest in its history, trailing only 1948-1949 for amounts recorded between July 1 and March 1. Pulliam Airport at Flagstaff already saw 140 inches fall between July 1 and March 1, surpassing 2009-2010’s 115.4 inch snowfall total in that timespan!
The 2022-23 season may rank among the ten snowiest seasons ever experienced at Grand Canyon’s North Rim. Snowfall this season has come as an incredible boon to visitors as normally it remains closed from November until June due to high forest fire risk.
Flagstaff is an ideal city to visit or live if you enjoy four distinct seasons and cooler temperatures than Phoenix. Furthermore, Flagstaff features numerous ski resorts and other outdoor recreational opportunities.
Winter in Flagstaff typically begins as early as October and usually peaks around December, typically with three-inch snowfall during its inaugural storm of the season – and average monthly totals can vary between 10-15 inches in heavy snowfall years to seven or less in light snowfall years.
The First Snowfall of the Season
Flagstaff residents have quickly adjusted to winter’s arrival and its accompanying cold and snow. A recent winter storm that hit many areas in Flagstaff dumped more than a foot of snowfall on them; one such area was Coconino National Forest near Arizona-Utah border which received 20 inches.
According to the National Weather Service Flagstaff office, this season currently ranks as one of the highest seasonal snow loads since records began; current totals rival those set during 1948-49 season.
Snow loads are beneficial to cities as they help combat drought by keeping water frozen until it melts later in the spring and summer, and protect high elevation areas such as Mogollon Rim and surrounding mountain ranges from wildfire risk until late into fall and wintertime.
Skiers and snowboarders who will be enjoying Flagstaff’s largest ski area – Humphreys Peak’s Arizona Snowbowl with 55 runs and 8 lifts – this year can also take advantage of this heavy snow load to enjoy powdery conditions while taking in beautiful northern Arizona scenery.
The Last Snowfall of the Season
Flagstaff sits 7000 feet above sea level, making it one of the snowiest cities in America. A typical winter typically brings several storms that drop 10 or more inches of snow onto this city – providing plenty of snow-packed fun on and off slopes!
No matter your reason for visiting Arizona – from skiing the powder for an epic ski experience or simply spending time in one of its beautiful parks – Arizona boasts four distinct seasons and plenty of snow!
Flagstaff has seen near record snowfall this winter season, according to NOAA climate data. 2022-2023 snow loads are among the top five highest ever seen here.
This near-record snowfall is great news for the area. The extra precipitation will help relieve long-standing drought conditions while replenishing runoff when it melts this spring and summer.
Heavy snowfall is also beneficial to the high country. By covering Mogollon Rim and nearby high terrain with snow cover, forest fire danger will be reduced until monsoon rains arrive later this summer. Over the weekend however, weather should finally turn around and give Flagstaff some relief from these snowy conditions.
The Final Total
Those who love snow have found this winter absolutely unforgettable. Climateology reports it as one of the highest snowfall seasons ever experienced by Flagstaff; yet its heavy snowfall made driving conditions much more hazardous and caused roof collapses to arise as a result.
This latest winter storm has dumped additional snowfall across northern Arizona, with some areas receiving over two feet. Strong winds also contributed to widespread travel delays and closures throughout the state – in fact at one point 12 highways were shut down due to severe weather.
Overall snowfall for this season remains significantly below that seen during 1948-1949; however, it’s close. Flagstaff Pulliam Airport recorded 140.1 inches as of Friday (third place on NWS list). Should more significant snow fall over the coming days and weeks, we could potentially see this season move into third or even second place by season’s end.
On a positive note, weather forecasters expect things to improve over the weekend, providing us with relief from all this snowfall. Unfortunately, cold and windy conditions could return Sunday through Monday; therefore we should see an end to these conditions at least temporarily.