Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Arizona Smacked with Record Snow, High Winds

Roads closed; tens of thousands without power; one death reported.

"The storm hit the state Monday and didn't let up overnight. Crews were still working to open roadways in snowed-under northern Arizona
on Tuesday. Interstate 17, the connection between Phoenix and Flagstaff, was open again after a huge traffic backup developed in its northbound lanes Monday when a tractor-trailer slid onto its side. Interstate 40 was reopening in stages. Some smaller roadways required chains on vehicles or four-wheel drive, if they opened at all.

Between 20 and 26 inches of snow fell in various spots in Flagstaff, said Steve Sipple of the National Weather Service in Phoenix. That smashed the previous storm record of 5 inches in 1956. The snow was whipped by high winds, with top readings of 53 mph in Flagstaff, 74 mph in Prescott and 54 mph in Show Low.

A Queen Creek man on a hunting trip to northern Arizona was killed in the storm. Skylar Stock and a friend were spending Monday night in a tent. Authorities say Stock, a 27-year-old Tempe firefighter, was killed by a tree that snapped and fell on him.

High winds also swept across the Phoenix area, with a peak reading of 74 mph at Phoenix Deer Valley Airport. Arizona Public Service Co. and Salt River Project had their hands full restoring power in the Valley and in northern Arizona.

APS said it expected all of its 250,000 Valley customers who lost power to have it back on by Tuesday night. About 10,000 of the 40,000 APS customers who lost power in northern Arizona had not been reconnected by Tuesday afternoon, but the utility said they would be by the time the day ended."

Consider this your (Michael) Mann-made global warming update climate hope-n-change update.

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