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Wed, Dec. 11

Another storm coming, mountains get more snow

A winter storm warning remains in place through noon, Saturday in the mountains of Yavapai County.

Another storm system is expected to dump heavy snow Friday night and Saturday morning.

Elevations higher than 5,500 feet are exected to get 8-to-16 inches of snow.

City of Prescott snowplow crews are ready for 12-hour shifts around the clock in expectation of what could be up to a foot of snow in the city.

County Emergency Management officials recommend rescheduling travel plans and staying off the roads as much as possible.

The National Weather Service issued a winter storm warning on Jan. 19. Snow and high winds will produce limited visibility.

By 8 p.m. Thursday, the NWS reported 0.64 inches of precipitation in Prescott.

Of primary concern are loss of heat, power and telephone service, and a shortage of supplies if storm conditions continue for more than a few days, said Marcie Slay, with YC Emergency Management. Even though plows have cleared the roads, each day could bring another wave of snow.

“It’s important for people to understand, we do have plows, but there are a lot of roads that need to be cleared.

It could be three to four days before smaller communities see a plow,” Slay said. “Not only do cars need to get out, plows need to get in.”

County workers make use of 12 snowplows: five 10-wheeler plows, three bobtails (medium size) and four 550s, which are like 1.5-ton pickups. Snowplow drivers concentrate first on making sure major roadways, like Highway 89, Williamson Valley and Senator Highway, are clear, she added.

Residents in higher elevations such as Groom Creek, Potato-Patch, Walker, Highland Pines, and communities along Senator Highway, Thumb Butte Road and Copper Basin Road should prepare for 12-16 inches of snow.

Slay urges people not to park their cars in roadways as snowplow drivers aren’t able do their job. “Otherwise, the driver has no option but to block the cars. The plows need to properly dispose of snow, or make piles. So, please, move your vehicles off the road.”

City of Prescott Street Maintenance Superintendent Bobbie King said Wednesday that crews had geared up for the storms by preparing the city’s snowplows.

“We have all of the plows ready,” King said, noting that the city regularly installs plows on its dump trucks and maintenance vehicles to deal with the snow.

City crews will be working 12-hour shifts for the duration of the storms, King said, adding, “This storm is a little different, because there are three storms expected.”

It can be hard to keep up with when it keeps snowing.”

Like the county, the city concentrates its efforts on major streets first, with priority streets being plowed continuously so they are passable for public safety vehicles and other traffic.

As of Wednesday afternoon, Prescott Police are not doing anything differently – but they ask that residents do.

“At this particular time, we will encourage drivers to leave a few minutes early, slow down and don’t be out and about unless they need to,” Lead Police Officer David Fuller said.

Yavapai County Sheriff’s spokesman Dwight D’Evelyn said search-and-rescue teams will be on heightened alert regarding rescues or evacuations. “We will be monitoring DPS (Dept. of Public Service) briefings regarding any major highway closures that could affect local road use and access in Yavapai County,” he said.

At home, Slay recommends residents have at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food, and sufficient heating fuel. Store a good supply of dry, seasoned wood for the fireplace or wood-burning stove. All fuel-burning equipment should be vented to the outside.

Keep on hand one gallon of water per person per day for at least three days for drinking and sanitation. Store extra batteries for flashlights and radios.

Plan ahead to stay closer to medical facilities, if needed. Emergency services may not be able to respond in a timely manner if access is restricted.

Families need a communications plan to know how to contact one another if separated. Bring pets/companion animals inside during winter weather. Move other animals or livestock to sheltered areas with non-frozen drinking water.

Prepare for loss of power that may impact electricity, heating and telephone service. Keep on hand food that does not require cooking or refrigeration, extra prescription medicine, and baby items such as diapers and formula.

If you lose heat, seal off unused rooms by stuffing towels in the cracks under the doors. At night, cover windows with extra blankets or sheets. Insulate pipes and allow faucets to drip a little during cold weather to avoid freezing. Learn how to shut off water valves in case a pipe bursts.

Be extra cautious if you go outside after a storm to inspect for damage. Always assume a downed line is a live line; it can be hidden by snowdrifts, trees or debris. Keep children and pets away from them, and do not touch anything power lines are touching, such as tree branches or fences. Call your utility company to report any outage-related problems.

Throw away any food that has been exposed to temperatures of 40° F (4° C) for two hours or more or that has an unusual odor, color or texture. When in doubt, throw it out.

(Daily Courier reporters Scott Orr and Cindy Barks contributed to this article).

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