NWS warns of high winds and blowing dust across Arizona, snow in high country

The National Weather Service said most cities across Arizona, including Phoenix, were expected to see high winds on Monday night, as a cold front brings fall-like temperatures to the state.

"Friendly reminder to bring in any loose items by tomorrow morning. Tomorrow afternoon/evening will be very windy," the agency Tweeted Sunday night.

Areas such as, Phoenix, Globe, Wickenburg and Gila Bend, may feel gusts more than 35 mph, NWS says.

There is also a chance for locally dense blowing dust, so NWS says to use caution when driving. 

Dusty afternoon in Phoenix. Photo by NWS Phoenix

Dusty afternoon in Phoenix. Photo by NWS Phoenix

"Drive alert and remember, if you encounter blowing dust, pull aside, stay alive," warns NWS.

Several Wind Advisories were issued — alerts can be found here.

"Visibility in a dust storm can drop to ZERO in minutes," the Arizona Department of Transportation said.

With the wind will also come fall-like temperatures in the 70s and 80s.

"A cold front will pass through the region Monday into Tuesday bringing fall-like temperatures. Tuesday still appears to be the coolest day next week," NWS said.

Thunderstorms, snow in northern Arizona

In northern Arizona, thunderstorms developed quickly, NWS said, advising residents to head indoors.

"Showers and thunderstorms are developing quickly this evening and moving northeast. Some storms may contain hail and strong gusty winds," the agency said.

As the fall storm moves through that area of the state, NWS said storms have a chance to become stronger, saying at 7:30 p.m., "The line of showers and thunderstorms has developed across western Yavapai/Coconino County. Note that there is the possibility of a few stronger storms in this line. Gusty winds and hail will be possible. Line is moving east northeast."

Snow began to fall in the high country on Monday night and into Tuesday morning.

Pinetop Lakeside snow_D.J. Schindler

Snow in Pinetop-Lakeside on Oct. 12. (D.J. Schindler)


Road Conditions

  • Call 511 anywhere in Arizona or 1-888-411-ROAD (7623)
  • az511.com

Leave prepared before heading north

After recent snowfall in the high country, the Arizona Department of Transportation is reminding drivers who are heading north to never park along highways to play in the snow. 

Use the highway shoulders for emergencies only. Parking on them to play in the snow is hazardous in the following ways:

  • Other drivers may be distracted by your vehicle.
  • Other drivers may pull over as well to play in the snow, compounding the problem.
  • Your vehicle may interfere with first responders who need to use the shoulder.
  • Plows can throw snow and ice far off highways.
  • It’s much safer to re-enter highways from on-ramps and other designated entrances

"Also, it’s not uncommon for lots of desert dwellers to take the opportunity to head north to play in the snow. So, remember to pack your patience and expect to spend extended time in your vehicle getting to and from snow play areas."

ADOT's suggestions for items to take along:

  • Warm clothing and blankets
  • A fully charged mobile phone and charger
  • Flashlight with extra batteries
  • Drinking water
  • Healthy snacks
  • First-aid kit and necessary medications
  • Ice scraper
  • Small bag of sand or kitty litter for wheel traction
  • Small folding shovel for snow removal
  • Travel tool kit and battery cables
  • Safety flares
  • Plastic bags or containers for sanitation
  • Road map(s)

ADOT says you and your vehicle must be prepared for driving in wintry conditions, including snow, ice and freezing temperatures.

  • Get plenty of rest
  • Plan your route in advance and notify someone about your route, destination and arrival time
  • Take frequent breaks from driving
  • Make sure your fuel tank is at least half to three-quarters full at all times
  • Use snow tires, chains or studded tires as recommended or required. Studded tires are permitted on Arizona highways from Oct. 1 to May 1.
  • Ensure your wipers, window defroster, headlights, taillights, brake lights and turn signals work
  • Change your motor oil to a winter grade
  • For electric or hybrid vehicles, be sure the battery has sufficient voltage and the connection cables are tight

Get more safety tips at https://azdot.gov/KnowSnow

For Flagstaff area snow-play locations, see FlagstaffArizona.org's Winter Recreation Map or call 844-256-SNOW.

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