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April 14, 2024 8:01 am

Local News

The Grand Canyon State’s History with Winter Weather

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Armand Jackson

Even though winter is not in full swing yet, Arizona has already witnessed some snowfall throughout parts of the state. According to weather reports from AZ Family, the first winter storm of the season has resulted in cooler temperatures, clouds, winds, rain in the deserts and mountain snow. Some may find it difficult to believe that chilling winter weather can take place in Arizona given its scorching warm temperatures, deserts, and known drought issues. However, according to the National Weather Service (NWS), Arizona has experienced a few notable winter storms throughout the past century that resulted in below zero temperatures, flooding, and even over 100 inches of snow in certain areas. 

In December 1965: “Heavy rainfall and melting snow forced a release of water into the Salt River. All roads across the Salt River in metro Phoenix were washed out and all bridges at least partially damaged. Monthly precipitation exceeded 12 inches at several mountain stations.” Two years later, two massive snow storms that NWS labeled “Storm of the Century” resulted in snow fall of; 86 inches at Flagstaff; 99 inches at Greer; 91.5 inches at the Heber Ranger Station; 87.3 inches at Crown King; 77.0 inches at Payson; 46.0 inches at Prescott; 35.2 inches at Sedona; and 102.7 inches at Hawley Lake. 

So as history has shown, winter weather in Arizona can be dangerous and brutal for state residents. The Arizona Emergency Information Network offers advice and resources for residents to follow as winter season is fast approaching. Some information include what to do before a winter storm approaches, how to prepare your vehicle, prepare your home, what to do if you are stranded in your vehicle during a blizzard, and what to do after the storm passes. Some resources include NWS’ various Facebook pages for certain areas of Arizona like Phoenix and Tucson, as well as NWS’ winter weather safety page.