First Snowstorm of the Year Predicted for Northern Arizona

It's time to dust off your skis and bust out your mittens if you live in northern Arizona because a storm system over the area is expected to dump several inches of snow between this afternoon and Wednesday evening.

According to meteorologist Hector Vasquez of the National Weather Service, areas near Prescott could get between two and three inches of snow while higher elevations around Flagstaff and the Grand Canyon could get up to five inches.

The NWS has issued a winter weather advisory for cold and snow in much of northwestern Arizona from now until 4 p.m. Wednesday, meaning travelers in the area should be prepared for snowy conditions and limited visibility on the roadways. 

There is also a wind advisory in place for "areas north and east of a line from Show Low to Flagstaff to Kaibito," as this region of the state could get gusts up to 45 miles per hour.
Vasquez says this is the time of year when Northern Arizona gets its first big dusting: “Usually in late October and November, the cold fronts get stronger and stronger because the northern latitudes lose sunshine . . . and the pressure differences in the atmosphere [bring] cold fronts into the western states.”

December and January see more accumulation of snow, “although,” Vasquez adds, “I say that with a caveat: We haven’t been getting big snowstorms like we used to. The whole climate is changing.

“I’ve been in this business for 40 years, and I’ve definitely seen changes since 1989. The weather has been kind of wacky since 1989 all over the world,” he adds. “But whether it’s related to global warming is up for debate. [Climate change] is now a political issue, not a scientific one anymore.”

Luckily, winter sports are relatively apolitical.

So everyone can enjoy what Vasquez says should be “the first significant snowstorm of the year,” especially because “they [usually] just get worse from here on out.” Unless you’re a skier, in which case, the beginning of the season and beyond is all good.
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Miriam is a staff writer at Phoenix New Times.
Contact: Miriam Wasser