Storm dumps 4-7 inches of snow in and around the Prescott area

PRESCOTT - A fairly fast-moving, early-spring storm dumped anywhere from 4-7 inches of snow in and around the Prescott area overnight Friday and into early Saturday morning, the National Weather Service in Flagstaff reported Saturday afternoon.

National Weather Service meteorologist David Vonderheide said many of the reports that the department received from several different weather spotting stations in and around Prescott streamed in between 7-9 a.m. Saturday. By that time, the storm had mostly subsided and the snow was melting quickly, although there were lingering flurries into the afternoon.

According to the service's weather gauges, most residents located a few miles from the city limits had about 5-1/2 inches of snow on the ground, although those in the higher elevations outside of Prescott got the most precipitation.

For example, 7 inches fell 7 miles south of Prescott, while nearby Wilhoit, which is about 16 miles southwest of here off South Highway 89, received 6 inches.

In Prescott Valley and Dewey-Humboldt, which is about 18 miles east of Prescott, those communities each received about 6 inches of powder. Some 4 inches accumulated in Chino Valley, 17 miles north of Prescott.

Even farther to the north, in Ash Fork, which is 52 miles away from here on Yavapai County's north-central edge, Vonderheide said 12 inches streamed down - one of the highest measurements in the county.

Thirty-four miles northeast of Prescott, in Jerome, at least 4 inches fell. However, on the other side of Mingus Mountain in the eastern part of the county, Sedona, Rim Rock and Camp Verde had only a trace of snow.

The National Weather Service issued a storm warning for the Prescott area at 6:30 p.m. Friday, one that did not expire until 5 p.m. Saturday. Meteorologists initially forecasted 5-10 inches of snow for those living at 5,000 feet elevation and, as the temperature dropped, an additional 2-4 inches.

"There were some lingering snow showers (in the afternoon on Saturday), and the radar showed that, too," Vonderheide said. "It was pretty windy as this system was moving in. And then, when the snow started, it died off."

The center of the storm started in southern California, but it slowed as it passed through the Golden State and crossed into Nevada and Arizona.

"It's speeding up," Vonderheide said of the storm front. "It's starting to lift off and up toward the northeast. It's going to be a big headache for places east of Arizona in the next couple days with severe weather."

Overnight on Saturday, Prescott was mostly cloudy with scattered snow showers and did not expect to receive much accumulation as the storm moved toward the east and into the White Mountains. However, temperatures dipped to just 16-22 degrees for a low in Prescott, which Vonderheide said likely approached a record.

"The coldest of the air was over us today and tonight (Saturday), and then on Sunday, there's a very slight chance of showers in the morning," he said.

Meteorologists were forecasting a high of only 49-55 degrees today, but temperatures are expected to rebound on Monday with a high of 62-68 degrees.

"By Monday, a lot of that snow is going to be melting," Vonderheide said.

On Tuesday and Wednesday, the highs will be similar to Monday, with temperatures ranging anywhere from 62-70 degrees, with some high clouds followed by clear nights.

"It will definitely be warming and drier," Vonderheide said. "We're not really mentioning much in the way of precipitation all the way through the end of next week."

Vonderheide added that getting the precipitation was good for northern Arizona because the winter did have extended periods of dryness and that the wetness might help reduce the wildfire danger as the late spring and summer months approach.