Killing freeze possible later this week

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PHOENIX -- A big winter storm is bearing down on us, and it's bringing some very cold air.

Things are calm now with a high of 65 forecast today. That drops to 56 tomorrow as the storm moves in with its rain and snow.

If the front stays on its current track, snow will likely start falling in the Flagstaff area some time tomorrow morning, continuing throughout the day, overnight and into Thursday.

Snowfall totals are expected to be between 8 and 16 inches, with even more in the higher elevations.

The snow levels are going to be quite low with this storm, especially Wednesday night and Thursday morning. A Winter Storm Watch will kick in tomorrow morning and will remain in effect for about 24 hours. That watch is for areas over 5,000 feet.

Snow levels could drop as low 2,000 feet, which is pretty far south. That means we could see a dusting of snow in northern parts of the Valley like North Scottsdale and Cave Creek.

Here in the Greater Phoenix Metro area, rain is going to be the name of the game.

It could start as early as tomorrow morning. It's more likely that it will start coming down in the afternoon hours. The rain will continue through the night and into Thursday morning. We could see about 1/2 inch to an inch of rain around town.

That unsettled weather should start clearing out Thursday, but that doesn't mean it's over.

There is some very cold air on the heels of the storm, which means extremely cold temperatures Thursday night and Friday morning.

The National Weather Service will probably issue a hard freeze warning as Valley temperatures will be in the 20s Friday morning.

According to the National Weather Service, this could be as bad as the killing freeze of January 2007.

While we're forecasting a high of 50 on Friday, it's possible that the mercury won't climb out of the 40s.

You should plan on more of the same Friday night into Saturday morning.

It's looking like we will start 2011 with mostly clear skies, but very cold temperatures. Expect highs in 50s through the weekend and into next week. Overnight lows will hover in the mid to upper 30s.