winter weather

Drivers should expect potentially hazardous driving conditions in higher elevations of northern Arizona as a late-season winter storm is expected to bring rain and snow to parts of the state through Thursday morning, according to the Arizona Department of Transportation.

At the request of emergency management, The American Red Cross has now opened a third shelter, at the Payson High School gymnasium, 301 South McClane, in Payson.

There are already 10 residents who are taking shelter there.

The shelter at the Kingman Community Center, 3345 Harrison Street in Kingman, is also open.

In addition, a shelter has been opened to serve the Strawberry/Pine communities at the Pine Community Center, 3886 North Highway 87, in Pine.

Red Cross shelters are open to anyone needing a safe place to stay.

With snow continuing to fall, putting off travel is the safest option

Multiple stretches of Arizona’s highways remained closed Thursday afternoon, Feb. 21, due to a powerful winter storm whose fury continues across much of the state.

With the heavy weather expected to last into Friday, the safest option at present is for drivers to delay travel to and through higher elevations until the Arizona Department of Transportation’s plows have cleared highways of snow and ice. Motorists in lower elevations may see some snow along with considerable rainfall.

Wintry conditions can bring unexpected surprises and potentially hazardous situations for unprepared visitors to Coronado National Forest.

It’s easy to plan for outings into snowy country, researching forecast weather and conditions on the ground, ensuring your vehicle is appropriate for road conditions, packing warm clothing and gear for your activities, and letting someone know of your plans. 

Across the Forest, rainy weather has caused stream levels to rise, catching recreationists off guard and leaving hikers in some areas stranded.

With another snowstorm forecast Tuesday afternoon in Arizona’s high country, keep in mind that the safest option while snow falls is delaying travel until Arizona Department of Transportation snowplows have had time to clear state highways.

A highway can close suddenly due to crashes and fast-accumulating snow. During recent snowstorms, northbound Interstate 17 climbing out of the Verde Valley toward Flagstaff and a steep section of eastbound Interstate 40 at Ash Fork Hill, just west of Williams, have closed temporarily as conditions deteriorated.

Although most roads on the forest remain open including Forest Road 300, recent snow in the Rim Country has made some forest roads impassable. For public safety and resource protection, The Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests’ Black Mesa Ranger District (BMRD) has implemented wheeled motor vehicle restrictions, which affect access to Woods Canyon Lake and the Mogollon Rim Visitor’s Center. Both locations have been gated closed due to icy conditions but are still open to non-motorized modes of travel including skis, snowshoe, and foot. 


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