Arizona storm: Early winter storm brings chance for snow in parts of high country

FLAGSTAFF, AZ - A Winter Weather Advisory has been issued for some of our higher elevations across Arizona as a strong storm moves into our state Wednesday night.

The storm is bringing much colder air and a chance for accumulating snow in the high country.

Snow levels will fall to as low as 5,500 feet by Thursday morning and we could see significant snow accumulations in areas above 6,500 feet. Between 3 and 5 inches of snow are possible in areas above 6,500 feet, including in the city of Flagstaff.

The timing of the heaviest snow could have a big impact on the Thursday morning commute. Snow will begin falling after midnight Thursday morning and continue through about midday Thursday. The heaviest snow could fall between 5 a.m. and 9 a.m.

The last time we saw measurable snow in Flagstaff was earlier this year on April 9, when we received 1.2 inches.

However, as we head into a new season, this is an unusually early winter storm.

On average, November 13 is first day we see 0.1 inches of snow or greater in the Flagstaff area. It's not on average until November 23 that we see 1 inch or greater snowfall in the Flagstaff area.

Last year, the first snowfall in Flagstaff was on November 9 when we saw 0.3 inches. However, it wasn't until December 14 that we saw the first snowfall above 1 inch in the Flagstaff area.  

According to National Weather Service climate data, there have only been about six times on record that we have seen more than a trace of snow in the Flagstaff area in October.

On October 5, 1912 we received 3.6 inches.
On October 8 and 9 in 1961 a total of 7 inches fell.
On October 16 and 17 in 1971 Flagstaff saw a storm that dropped 12.6 inches of snow!

The last time we saw a significant snow storm in the Flagstaff area in October was on October 15, 1994 when 8.2 inches fell.

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