Arizona gets 5+ feet of snow

March 18, 2012 at 10:10 PM

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz., March 18 (UPI) -- While it was unseasonably warm across most of the United States Sunday, a late winter storm dropped upward of 5 feet of snow on Arizona's mountains.

KTVK-TV, Phoenix, reported some parts of Arizona's high country had received more than 5 feet of snow with more expected Sunday night. The Arizona Snowbowl in Flagstaff reported 3 feet, the TV station said.

The snow forced the closure of numerous roads and there were reports of many vehicles skidding into ditches and other accidents.

Interstate 40 was still closed Sunday evening from Holbrook to Ash Fork, and U.S. 180 was closed west of Arizona Snowbowl, KTVK-TV said.

A winter storm warning was in effect from the Mexican border to the northern outskirts of Utah Sunday, the National Weather Service said, at the same time the East and Midwest was experiencing temperatures in the 70s -- 76 in Bangor, Maine -- and even the 80s -- Chicago enjoyed its fifth straight 80-plus day in a row.

Rain and wind lingered along the Pacific Coast Sunday as the brunt of the storm pushed east.

The Arizona Daily Sun said Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff had already decided to cancel classes Monday and residents were urged to stay off the roads unless absolutely necessary.

Phoenix was experiencing the storm in the form of its first rain since December. An inch of rain fell in the region Sunday. "Phoenix is known for its dry climate, but this is normally a wet time of the year," said AccuWeather senior meteorologist Kristina Pydynowski. "Phoenix typically receives nearly 3 inches of rain from late December through mid-March."

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