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Trusted local news leader for Prescott area communities since 1882
6:23 PM Sat, Nov. 17th

Snow closes I-40, causes local wrecks

Beth and Tim Murray share a kiss under the Statehood Tree as the snow falls around them on the Yavapai County Courthouse Plaza Monday afternoon.

Courier/Les Stukenberg

He said at around 5 p.m. that the road conditions had improved significantly on both freeways although wet spots still existed.

According to the Yavapai County Sheriff's Office, over the weekend, the agency responded to about 25 accidents with 13 of them being to assist DPS.

YCSO spokeswoman Susan Quayle said none of the accidents were serious, adding that none of the roads around the county have experienced any significant delays beyond what is expected during wet conditions.

In Prescott, officers handled between 15 to 20 accidents, and the majority were weather related, Prescott Police Sgt. Ben Scott said. He said no serious injuries resulted from those accidents.

He said in the morning hours police closed "the Elks hill" on Gurley Street between Cortez and Marina streets because of ice.

However, after driving around town in the late afternoon hours, Scott said that he noticed that almost all the snow has melted, but certain roads sections remained wet, which, he said, have the potential to turn into "black ice".

He said that people should be extra careful when driving in such conditions, pay attention to the color of the road and keep their distance from the vehicle in front to allow more stopping distance between themselves and others.

Authorities in neighboring vicinities, Prescott Valley and Chino Valley, said that their roads are clear and that they haven't experienced a high volume of accidents as was the case in Prescott.

Approximately 3 inches of wet snow fell in Prescott by late Monday afternoon, according to the National Weather Service.

The heaviest accumulation arrived Monday morning after warmer temperatures on Sunday produced rain.

A cold storm system from California brought the much-needed precipitation.

The precipitation continues an unusual trend of above-average numbers from October. The 3 inches of snow tops the 106-year average of 2.2 inches for all of November in Prescott.

The Weather Service also reported 7.5 inches of new snow in Flagstaff and 31 inches at the top of the nearby Snowbowl ski area, where officials hope to open runs on Thanksgiving for the first time since 2000. The ski area reported a total of 23 inches of snow at the base and 58 inches at mid-mountain.

The above-average October rainfall in Prescott improved its U.S. Drought Monitor rating to "severe." However, "Many more heavy winter storms are needed in the weeks and months ahead to bring the (Western) region out of drought," according to the Drought Monitor.

The National Weather Service's Climate Prediction Center foresees "limited improvement" in water supplies for the Southwest through February.

In the more immediate future, the Weather Service predicts a warming trend for Wednesday and Thanksgiving Day, with the next chance for precipitation in Prescott this weekend.

Contact the reporters at mburicadam@prescottaz.com and jdodder@prescottaz.com