Snow falls in parts of southern Arizona, while Anchorage sees relatively balmy weather

PHOENIX (AP) -- Snow is falling on cacti in southern Arizona, while Anchorage is seeing balmy weather -- at least by Alaska standards.

The weather appears to be flipped throughout much of the West. The Southwest is seeing unusually cold weather, including suburban Tucson, which saw as much as six inches of snow Wednesday.

"It was pretty magical," said Jessica Howard, a resident of the Tucson suburb of Vail who took her 8- and 5-year-old children to play in the snow. "My social media feeds are like 100 percent snow pictures right now."

Snow dusted cactuses and mountains in southern Arizona and covered the Grand Canyon in the north.

In Albuquerque, heavy snowfall and icy roads caused many government agencies and schools to close for the day. The National Weather Service said more frigid weather is expected Thursday in the region.

Meanwhile, a change in the jet stream pumped warmer air from the south into Alaska, taking temperature to 44 degrees in Anchorage on New Year's Day.