Valley braces as first big winter storm arrives
Chris McCrory Arizona Republic USA TODAY NETWORK
The Phoenix area was anticipating a 100 percent chance of rain early this morning, according to the National Weather Service, and may see a thunderstorm or two as a low-pressure system moves through Arizona over the next two days.
The Valley was expecting “showers and possibly a thunderstorm before 11 p.m.” Tuesday night, according to predictions on the National Weather Service website.
Showers were expected throughout the day today.
“We’ve got a Pacific storm system that’s going to be affecting our weather,” said meteorologist Marvin Percha
with the National Weather Service in Phoenix. “It’s going to be progressing eastward.”
Most areas in the Valley were expected to see anywhere from a quarter of an inch to half an inch of rain, but Percha said even that little bit of water can make a difference.
Oils in the roadway can be brought up by rainfall, making streets especially slippery, he said.
The Arizona Department of Public Safety took to social media ahead of the wet weather to offer safety tips for drivers.
But this storm system, moving in from California, was not expected to linger.
“It’s pretty quick-moving. Rainfall wont last long,” Percha said. “But it’s got a decent amount of moisture.”
He said the front of the system was heavy with rain and was all but guaranteed to bring the first measurable rain of the winter to Greater Phoenix.
Temperatures were expected to remain in the 60s today before warming later this week.
The storm was expected to be a boon to the colder parts of the state, which have seen little or no snow this season.
Flagstaff and communities above 5,500 feet were expected to see 1 to 3 inches of snow. Percha said some mountain areas could get up to 6 inches.
This will be the first significant rainfall in Phoenix this season, Percha said. A warm and dry winter has kept temperatures in the low 70s and humidity down. And following this storm, that pattern is likely to return, he said.
“It looks like, after this system, we’re probably going to go back to a drier pattern for at least a week,” he said.