Snow plows clear Ariz. route to Sedona; snow coats McDowell Mtns.

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by The Associated Press and Catherine Holland

Video repot by April Warnecke, Ryan O'Donnell, Gina Maravilla and Bruce Haffner

Posted on February 11, 2013 at 8:51 AM

Updated Thursday, Dec 5 at 4:14 PM

SEDONA, Ariz. (AP) -- Highway 89A between Sedona and Interstate 17 reopened Monday morning after an overnight closure due to heavy snow and ice on the pavement.

ADOT announced the reopening shortly before 9 a.m. Monday.

I-17 between State Route 179 and Flagstaff was closed for much of Sunday evening but later was reopened.

The Department of Transportation says it had nearly 80 snowplows working to clear northern Arizona highways and advised drivers to check weather conditions before setting  out.

3TV's Ryan O'Donnell headed up north Monday morning. He said the drive to Sunset Point was not bad until they hit New River. They ran into some rain there. That rain turned to snow as they hit the Bloody Basin exit.

By the afternoon, chains were required en route to Payson.

While some of the lower elevations saw a dusting of snow Monday morning, most of which melted as the sun came up, it was a different story farther north.

A cold storm system dumped several inches of snow on Flagstaff over the weekend. The cold air mass that accompanied the system dropped the snow levels significantly, as low as about 4,000 feet.

Bruce Haffner took the Fort McDowell Casino News Chopper to the McDowell Mountains in North Scottsdale where snow flurries coated the peaks and the cacti Monday morning.

"This is what we live for. We live for shots like this," Haffner said

"You can't beat the picture of snow on a saguaro," 3TV Meteorologist April Warnecke said of what Haffner called "the quintessential winter shot in Arizona."

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