Warnings, watches and advisories blanket state as winter storm moves in


by Catherine Holland


Posted on December 29, 2010 at 10:51 AM

Updated Wednesday, Dec 29 at 6:07 PM

PHOENIX -- Virtually every part of Arizona is under some kind of weather warning, watch or advisory as a huge winter storm moves in.

Snow started coming down in Flagstaff at about 5:30 a.m. It's going to continue all day, through the night and into tomorrow. Between 1 and 2 feet is expected in elevations above 6,500 feet.

The National Weather Service has issued a blizzard warning from 11 a.m. today  through 7 p.m. Thursday for the White Mountains,  the Galiuro and Pinaleno Mountains, Catalina and Rincon Mountains and Mount Graham.

In addition to the snow, it's going to get fairly windy. Southwest winds of 30 to 40 mph with gusts to 60 mph are expected Wednesday afternoon diminishing to 15 to 30 mph with gusts to 40 mph Thursday morning.

In the Phoenix Metro area, the rain should start moving in by about 10 a.m. That rain is expected to pick up in the afternoon and continue through the night and into Thursday.

This front is bringing some extremely cold air into Arizona. The snow level today is above 5,000 feet. That's expected to drop Thursday to about 2,000 feet, which means we could actually see some snow in the northern portion of the Valley.

Once the snow and rain have cleared, it's going to get very cold.

According to the NWS, this could be as bad as the killing freeze of January 2007.

The NWS has already issued a freeze watch for Thursday night into Friday morning. Valley temperatures are expected to be in the 20s.  

Expect more of the same on New Year's Eve.

Temperatures are expected to be below freezing as the calendar flips over to 2011. It will be one of the coldest New Year's celebrations in the 27-year history of the Fiesta Bowl Block Party in Tempe.