Arizona may ring in new year with a major winter storm

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By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver

PHOENIX -- After several days of unseasonably cold temps and dry conditions, a gradual warming will take place before a big winter storm moves into Arizona for the holiday.

Monday and Tuesday, expect high clouds from time to time. Lows in the Phoenix-metro will remain in the 30s with highs in the low to mid 60s.

The storm is expected to move out of California Tuesday night and into Arizona Wednesday. The Valley may see rain from Wednesday afternoon through Thursday morning. Early forecasting models indicate 0.10 inch to 0.50 inch across the Valley.

Snow will be the bigger issue for travelers across northern Arizona. A wintry mix switching over to snow is possible just north and east of the Phoenix-metro. Portions of Gila County may see some accumulating snow.

Significant snow is expected above 5,000 feet in central and northern Arizona. Four to eight inches are possible across the higher elevations.

In northwest Arizona and Las Vegas, the snow level will be down to 1,500 feet. To put things in perspective, Las Vegas’ elevation is about 2,200 feet, and Kingman’s elevation is 3,300 feet, according to the National Weather Service office in Las Vegas. Forecasters there report that the last time the Las Vegas strip received snow was in December of 2008.

One to three inches are possible in Las Vegas on New Year’s Eve. Those driving to Vegas Tuesday night and Wednesday may have a difficult time doing so. Roads are expected to be icy and visibility will be poor at times.

A Winter Storm Watch has been issued for Mohave County for Tuesday evening through Thursday morning.

Along with the mountain snow and Valley rain, temperatures are expected to plunge once again. Daytime highs will be back into the low 50s for the first day of 2015 in the Valley, with overnight lows near or below freezing.

Dry weather returns Friday through next weekend.

Stay with the 3TV Forecasters as we monitor changes in this forecast leading up to the new year.