Arizonans buffeted by wind, bracing for cold weather as new week begins

Following a weekend with temperatures in the high 70s, Arizonans are dealing with windy weather and a forecast of cold weather.

On Monday, a high wind warning was in place for parts of Arizona, including Forest Lakes, Heber, Holbrook, Snowflake and Winslow.

According to meteorologists, in some towns in Northern Arizona winds could reach speeds of 50 to 78 mph (~80.47 to 125.53 km/h). 

In Flagstaff, a Wind Advisory was issued. FOX 10's Bailey Miller said while it was windy in Flagstaff Monday afternoon, the wind speed was only about 35 mph (~56.33 km/h). During the morning hours, however, wind speeds reached around 53 mph (~85.3 km/h) at the airport.

"Gusts that high are starting to get into our EF0 (0 on Enhanced Fujita Scale) tornado rating, so we could see damage with this kind of wind. We haven’t had any reports of damage, but it is a possibility for downed power lines and things of that nature," said Emily Thornton, a meteorologist with NWS in Flagstaff.

NWS meteorologists say the state often sees these gusts in the spring, but it is not unusual during winter. They also say while the system responsible for the windy weather is expected to move out by Monday night, a cold front is expected to stay for Tuesday.

Cold Temperatures Forecast for the Valley

In the Valley, weather officials have issued a Freeze Warning that will take effect at 12:00 a.m. on February 5. The warning will last until 9:00 a.m. that same day.

In North Phoenix, workers at Cox Cactus Farm are breaking out the blankets to keep certain plants warm. From ficus trees to flowers, citrus, tropical plants and different kinds of cacti, the cold snap could do some damage.

Meanwhile, workers at Greenfield Citrus Nursery in Mesa say things usually stay around 5°F warmer than up north, so they are not worried. However, they say if people want to sleep easy, you can even skip the blankets by watering their plants to keep it warm.

John Babiarz with Greenfield Citrus Nursery says this cold weather actually comes at a good time, as most plants are still dormant, and can even help more hardy plants grow stronger in the long run.

You can check the latest weather conditions by visiting the FOX 10 Phoenix weather page. You can also get the latest weather updates by downloading the FOX 10 Weather app, which is available on the Apple App Store (for Apple iOS devices) as well as on Google Play (for Android devices)