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Wed, April 24

Winter storm set to hit Yavapai County

Matt Hinshaw/The Daily Courier, file<br>Drivers negotiate driving down Williamson Valley Road Dec. 2, 2011.

Matt Hinshaw/The Daily Courier, file<br>Drivers negotiate driving down Williamson Valley Road Dec. 2, 2011.

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.

As of Tuesday afternoon, expected snowfall during the warning period for communities in Yavapai County were: Prescott 6-10 inches, Seligman 7-11 inches, Prescott Valley 4-8 inches, Chino Valley and Paulden 4-8 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 on Tuesday was forecasting a 100 percent chance of snow today with a high of 33 degrees; 100 percent chance of snow tonight with a low of 22 degrees; 60 percent chance of snow on New Year's Day with a high of 31 degrees; and a 20 percent chance of snow Thursday night with a low of 17 degrees.

Winds in Prescott should be steady at 11-16 mph today, with gusts as strong as 25 mph. Winds are forecasted to drop to 7-11 mph tonight. On New Year's Day, the winds will be at 5-8 mph and drop to 5 mph in the evening, the Weather Service said.

A City of Prescott Streets Division news release stated that the division is prepared for the storm. All plows are ready, and will be spreading a mixture of cinders and a de-icing agent.

"During a significant snow event, we ask for the public's cooperation," City Manager Craig McConnell said. "Crews initially focus on clearing main streets first, then move to the collectors feeding them, followed by the neighborhood streets. Citizens can help by clearing the sidewalks and walkways adjacent to their residences or businesses, per City Code."

During winter storms, motorists should avoid, where possible, parking in the public streets. Parking is allowed when streets have been completely plowed.

High pressure will build behind 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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