Phoenix weather: Winter storm sweeping through Arizona

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by Catherine Holland

Forecast by April Warnecke

Posted on February 20, 2013 at 6:43 AM

Updated Saturday, Nov 9 at 3:32 PM

PHOENIX -- A major winter storm is working its way through Arizona today, and it's a bit stronger than others we have seen this year. It could actually be the worst winter day of the season.

The cold air that's part of the storm system will drop Valley temperatures a full 20 degrees from the lovely spring-like highs we've been enjoying. Phoenix and surrounding areas will top out in the 50s today.

In addition, snow levels are going to be very low -- possibly as low as 2,500 feet. According to 3TV meteorologist April Warnecke, we could even see some flurries in the Valley. That's on top of the 0.5 inch of rain that's possible.

At this point, chains or four-wheel drive are required just south of the Sedona turn-off on State Route 179.

Wind speeds of more than 20 mph in and around Flagstaff are also part of this storm. By 6 a.m., there were already about 4.5 inches of snow on the ground and more -- much more -- is expected.

Wind speeds are expected to pick up throughout the state as the day goes on.

The potential for heavy snow and blowing snow prompted a blizzard warning for southeastern Arizona.

Here in the Phoenix metro area, the first round of rain hit in the early morning hours. By 6:30 a.m., a second band was moving in from the west. This second band is carrying the bulk of the storm activity.

"We expect things to stay, cold, windy, kind of blustery throughout the day today," Warnecke said.

Plan on a high of a chilly 52 degrees and an overnight low of 39 degrees with a 20-percent chance of rain.

That rain should move out by Thursday, but the cold will remain. Look for a high of 58 on Thursday and 62 on Friday.

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