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Thu, April 18

Winter storm warning issued for all of Yavapai County

The National Weather Service has now issued a winter storm warning for Yavapai County and other parts of Arizona.

The warning is in effect from 4 a.m. on New Year's Eve through 5 p.m. on New Year's Day for areas higher than 3,500 feet.

The warning means the Weather Service expects severe winter weather conditions because of forecasted snow and strong winds.

"Expect dangerous driving conditions for the New Year's holiday," the Weather Service warns in its written forecast discussion. For the latest road conditions, call the ADOT hotline at 888-411-7623 or go online to az511.com.

The Weather Service has issued a list of expected snow accumulation levels for various cities.

Expected snowfall during the warning period for communities in Yavapai County are: Prescott 6-10 inches, Seligman 5-9 inches, Prescott Valley 4-8 inches, Chino Valley and Paulden 4-6 inches, Cottonwood 1-3 inches, and Camp Verde and Congress 1-2 inches.

Higher areas will see more, including the higher mountains on the south side of Prescott. The Weather Service is forecasting 9-13 inches in Flagstaff and 13-19 inches in Forest Lakes.

The Weather Service expects the heaviest snow to fall from Wednesday morning through Wednesday evening.

This is the first time the Weather Service expects snow to accumulate in Prescott this winter. The cold system should produce fluffy snow.

In Prescott, the Weather Service is forecasting a 40 percent chance of snow tonight with a low of 27 degrees; 100 percent chance of snow Wednesday with a high of 33 degrees; 100 percent chance of snow Wednesday night with a low of 22 degrees; 60 percent chance of snow on New Year's Day with a high of 31 degrees; and a slight chance of snow Thursday night with a low of 17 degrees.

Winds in Prescott will start picking up tonight at 6-9 mph. By New Year's Eve they will be steady at 11-13 mph, with gusts as strong as 21 mph. Winds are forecasted to drop to 6-9 mph on Wednesday night. On New Year's Day, the winds will blow around 6 mph and become light and variable by the afternoon, the Weather Service said.

High pressure will build in the wake of the storm. The high temperature is expected to rise to 36 degrees on Friday, 41 on Saturday, 47 on Sunday and near 50 on Monday.

For updates on the forecast, go online to weather.gov/flagstaff.

Follow Joanna Dodder on Twitter @joannadodder

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