Storm spreads rain, heavy snow across Arizona

Storm spreads rain, heavy snow across Arizona

Updated:

Rainy, windy day in the valley

Stormy weather shrouded the state with rain, snow, hail and dust. You know the saying -- March roars in like a lion, and Mother Nature was roaring today.

Pretty much every corner of Arizona got hit by this late winter storm.

In Tempe, the hail was coming down hard near Guadalupe and Rural. Cars were pummeled by the hail.

Heading west to Buckeye, people there not only dealt with hail – but dust! It looked more like the middle of the summer monsoon than the beginning of March in the west valley.

The storm left behind some damage here in the valley. Strong winds sent a tree crashing into a fence, landing on top of two cars, near Crismon and Main in Mesa.

Forecasters say rain in south-central Arizona could measure a quarter-inch to an inch before the storm moves out of the state Saturday.

The National Weather Service also issued an airport weather warning Friday afternoon. The warning gave the people working outside at Sky Harbor a heads up that bad weather was in the area, including strong winds.

Air traffic controllers also took note of the warning. But for the most part, Sky Harbor air traffic was not impacted by the bad weather.

However, rainfall measured at Sky Harbor International Airport broke a record for the date with more than two-thirds of an inch. The thunderstorms had largely moved out of the area by Friday evening.

Snowy, icy day up north

Residents of northern Arizona broke out their snow blowers and shovels Friday as a winter storm hit the state.
 
The National Weather Service says elevations above 7,000 feet can expect to get more than a foot of snow.
 
Flagstaff had received between 6 and 10 inches as of Friday evening. The weather prompted City Hall and Northern Arizona University to shut down early.
 
Heber-Overgaard had more than four inches of snow. 20 inches had fallen in Forest Lakes, northwest of Payson.

Snow shut down highways in eastern Arizona Friday. The roads are back open now, but chains are required on some roads.

Highway 260 from Payson to Heber was shut down temporarily because it was covered in ice. As of Friday night, it was back open, after snow plows and de-icers went through.

"Couple of cars just panicked, came to a complete stop, and after that it was chain reaction, total stop," says driver Richard Baca.

Those stuck on 260 before they shut down the highway had quite the story to tell.

"There are cars in the ditch, trucks can't make it up the first long hill," says Frank Ardemangi.

"Don't go that way. People slid off the roads, trucks were stopped, completely covered in snow," says Forrest Bareis.

In some places, there was white out.

"It was really really thick, where we were going about 10 miles an hour, had our flashers on the whole way, it's bad up there, I would not recommend going up there right now," says Kate Malmar.

"You cannot even see the road and there were a couple vehicles that went off the road and hopefully they get help soon," says Jorge Dominguez.

Emergency crews were called in to pull cars stuck on Highway 260 to safety. If you don't have chains on your tires or 4-wheel drive, it is recommended you don't drive up north.

For latest on road conditions from ADOT: www.az511.gov 

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press modified.

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