Arizona winter storm closes schools in Flagstaff, other cities

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By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman
By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland
By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland
By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland
By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) -- Public schools are closed in Flagstaff, including Northern Arizona University, as a winter storm that moved into Arizona from California began dropping snow in higher elevations and rain elsewhere.

A National Weather Service forecast released Wednesday morning predicts up to 6 to 10 inches of snow in Flagstaff and Prescott and up to 9 inches of snow in Payson on Wednesday.

The weather service says the winter storm warning for the Flagstaff region will be in effect from until 8 p.m. Wednesday. 

A winter storm warning also has been issued for late Wednesday for the Sierra Vista area of southeastern Arizona.

The Phoenix metropolitan area is expected to get up to a half-inch of rain Wednesday with temperatures in the mid-50s, about 15 degrees below average for this time of year.

Schools in Pine/Strawberry, Pinetop/Lakeside (Blue Ridge District), Payson and Show Low were closed due to inclement weather, as well.

According to the Department of Public Safety, U.S. 89 is closed at milepost 526, which is just south of the Utah border, because the roadway buckled. That's the main route into Page.

While there are several wrecks in the area, DPS officers said none appeared to be serious.

3TV viewer Vernon Lane tweeted photos.

While there is bad weather in the area, the Arizona Department of Public safety said that's not what caused the 150-foot section of pavement to buckle. Rather, ADOT is blaming a "geologic event."

Snow video from Garry R. Mensch, manager of Forest Lakes Lodge (on the Rim)