Winter storm brought rain to Phoenix area, snow to parts of northern Arizona

A winter storm brought rain, snowfall, and cooler temperatures to various parts of Arizona.

On Dec. 9, forecasters warned of difficult driving conditions across Arizona’s high country Thursday and early Friday from the winter storm, which was expected to produce widespread rain and snow, along with gusty winds.

Conditions are expected to improve over the weekend, but another storm is possible next Tuesday and Wednesday, the office said.

Snowfall amounts Thursday and early Friday could total up to 4 inches (10 centimeters) above 6,000 feet (1,828 meters), with over 5 inches (12.7 centimeters) above 8,000 feet (2,438 meters).

Flagstaff wakes up to fresh snow dusting

On Dec. 9, officials with the City of Flagstaff say they are ready for the storm. They are deploying all equipment and operators available, and they will be running 24 hours. Cinders will also be allowed to major hills, intersections, railroad crossings, and problem areas.

On Dec. 10, people woke up to a snowy landscape, and some spent their morning enjoying and taking it all in. At a coffee shop near Downtown Flagstaff, people gathered to get a hot cup of joe to warm up. 

"Sometimes it can bring people in to hang out because it’s fun to be inside, and then other times, people want to stay off of the roads," said one person who works at the coffee shop.

An NAU student, meanwhile, was preparing for a blustery day on the slopes at the Snow Bowl.

"I come from Scottsdale, so seeing snow is very exciting for me," said the student, identified only as ‘Amber.' "When the snow hats, you have to go up the hill."

 Associated Press (AP) contributed to this report.


(National Weather Service Flagstaff)

Leave prepared before heading north

Snow at the Grand Canyon.

Snow at the Grand Canyon. (Grand Canyon National Park service)

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

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

Road Conditions

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


More Arizona weather

You can check the latest weather conditions by visiting the FOX 10 Phoenix weather page, or download the Free FOX 10 Weather app, which is available on Apple iOS and Android.