PHOENIX – Drivers should expect potentially hazardous driving conditions in higher elevations of northern Arizona as a late-season winter storm is expected to bring rain and snow to parts of the state through Thursday morning, according to the Arizona Department of Transportation.
The National Weather Service is expecting snow to impact travel on highways in the Flagstaff area, including Interstate 40, Interstate 17 and State Route 89A. Snow is also expected in areas along SR 260 between Payson and Heber. The heaviest snow is expected from Wednesday night through early Thursday morning above 6,000 feet. Challenging driving conditions are likely during the Thursday morning commute.
ADOT advises motorists to slow down for safety and to consider delaying travel until the storm passes and snowplows have cleared highways. Once it begins snowing, plows will be working continuously to clear the highways. Motorists can assist by remembering not to pass snowplows and making sure to stay at least four car lengths behind a plow.
Drivers should be prepared for winter driving and pack an emergency kit in case they are forced to spend an extended time on the road:
Slow down: Adjust speed to conditions.
Create space: Leave extra room between your vehicle and the vehicle in front of you. Avoid sudden braking.
Give snowplows room: Slow down and stay at least four vehicle lengths behind a plow. Wait for a plow to pull over before passing. The safest place to be when there’s snow and ice on a road is behind a snowplow.
Leave prepared: Bring extra clothing and gloves, make sure the gas tank is half to three-quarters full at all times, keep cellphones charged and pack extra drinking water, snacks and all necessary medications.
Pack an emergency kit: It should include blankets, a flashlight, an ice scraper, a small shovel, a container of sand or cat litter for traction and warning lights or reflectors.
Beware of black ice: Melting snow can turn into ice, especially at night. Ice tends to form on bridges first and can be difficult to see.