First Alert Weather Day: Winter storm dumps snow in the High Country, rain in the Valley

Snowfall in Sedona, Arizona.
Snowfall in Sedona, Arizona.(Bob and Sally Jahns / azfamily)
Published: Dec. 12, 2022 at 5:46 AM MST|Updated: Dec. 12, 2022 at 4:50 PM MST
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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -- As Arizona’s Family First Alert meteorologists called days in advance, a major winter storm hit much of Arizona early Monday, severely impacting travel for the morning commute.

It’s the perfect time to start heading up to Arizona Snowbowl! According to the National Weather Service, a foot of snow was dumped on Monday, perfect for skiing and snowboard enthusiasts! Forest Lakes came in at nine inches, while Munds Park recorded eight inches. Residents in Prescott still saw a good amount of snow with over three inches.

About five inches of snow in the High Country were already seen by 5 a.m. in populated Flagstaff and Prescott. Shortly after 5:30 a.m., I-17 was closed for a portion of the morning about 20 miles south of Flagstaff, in the town of Munds Park, as a number of cars were reportedly stuck in the snow. ADOT crews reopened the freeway just before 8 a.m.

Still, slick conditions continued throughout the day, with temporary closures along I-40 closed in Seligman and SR-260 closed near Heber-Overgaard. Earlier in the day, a jackknifed truck closed a small portion of SR-89 in Chino Valley. All of those roads reopened by the afternoon.

Arizona’s Family was the first to report late Sunday night that all Flagstaff Unified School District schools were placed on a two-hour delayed start. Ultimately, those winter conditions prompted the district to cancel classes early Monday morning. In addition, schools in the Blue Ridge Unified School District, which serves the greater Pinetop-Lakeside area, canceled classes.

“We generally saw 5-7″ of snow between Bellemont and Flagstaff,” the National Weather Service tweeted. Meteorologists are already forecasting the possibility of another inch or two in the higher elevations, particularly in the benches and mountainous communities.

Meanwhile, closer to the Valley, a steady stream of rain, at times torrential throughout the overnight hours, is leaving a muddled mess on Phoenix-area roads and freeways. Arizona’s Family spotted an overturned FedEx semi-truck near 24th Street and Buckeye Road. There was no immediate word of injuries in that crash. A school bus crash in the East Valley and a crash involving a USPS in Glendale were other major crashes on the roadways.

A FedEx delivery truck was involved in a crash early Monday near 24th Street and Buckeye Road...
A FedEx delivery truck was involved in a crash early Monday near 24th Street and Buckeye Road in east Phoenix.(Arizona's Family)

Those spending their time outdoors today should brace for chilly temperatures as temperatures hover in the lower 50s through the day. As of 5:30 a.m., current forecast models show much of the rain in the Valley should diminish by 11 a.m. but scattered remain possible with heavy and dark clouds expected throughout Maricopa County.

Snow could be seen in the higher elevations, like the Superstition Mountain while much of metro Phoenix got drenched.

AZFamily's First Alert Weather Mobile App

AZFamily's First Alert Weather App First lets you track storms and get severe weather alerts wherever you are. Get animated radar, hourly and 10-day forecasts, video updates, rainfall totals, and an interactive traffic map. It also provides a 250-meter radar, which is the highest resolution possible. This radar allows you to look into the future so you can see where the storm is headed.