New Year's Eve storm impacts state workers and travelers

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By Tami Hoey By Tami Hoey

PHOENIX --- The storm expected to hit Arizona on New Year's Eve is having an impact on state crews, and travelers alike.

"We have 400 employees trained to be snow plow drivers," ADOT spokesman Doug Nintzel told 3TV.

Many of those drivers are already deployed to the High Country, waiting for the snow.

They spent Tuesday making sure the plows are full of gasoline and de-icer, and making sure they themselves are rested and prepared for 12-hour shifts.

"Still, we're asking people not drive during the height of the storm," Nintzel added.

"We're making sure everyone's on standby and ready to go if needed," Marcie Slay, of the Yavapai County Emergency Management Department, told 3TV.

Even with the storm hitting on a holiday, Slay says staffing will not be an issue.

"We're on standby 24-7," she said.

State workers know a lot of people from the Valley will want to travel to play in the snow up north.   They encourage drivers to have emergency supplies and a full gas tanks, in case roads are closed.

"Even if you are used to driving in winter conditions, others might not be. Keep that in mind. As you see others slip and slide, back off and slow down," Slay warned.

The approaching storm is putting a damper on some holiday travel plans.

"For us, it's not worth risking it," Timmy Marrinan told 3TV.

Marrinan and his girlfriend bought tickets to an event months ago for New Year's Eve.  They were able to sell the tickets and cancel their hotel reservations when they saw the weather forecast.

"It's just no joke in Northern Arizona when it snows.  I've driven through a couple storms and it's nerve-wracking," Marrinan said.

Even people in the Valley could see snow in the distance Wednesday and Thursday.   The Four Peaks, the McDowells, and the Superstition Mountains outside of the Phoenix metro area could become snow-capped in the storm.