New Year's weekend in Arizona: Scattered showers continuing across Valley

Arizona Republic
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Travel and weather updates from across the state throughout the holiday weekend.

2:10 p.m. Monday: Potential slick spots still at play

According to the National Weather Service Flagstaff office, high-traffic highways and interstates are in better shape than they were last night but are still at the mercy of scattered snow showers.

Drivers are advised to take it slow and continue to check for updates.

1:10 p.m. Monday: Scattered showers continuing across Phoenix

Scattered showers are still hanging around mainly across Pinal, Gila and eastern Maricopa counties.

Elevations of 4,500 feet and above are expected to experience snowflakes mixed in, according to the National Weather Service Phoenix office.

11:25 a.m. Monday: State Route 260 reopened

The Arizona Department of Transportation announced that State Route 260 has reopened between Camp Verde and State Route 87.

State Route 64 between mileposts 242 and 269 in the Grand Canyon National Park is now the only remaining snow-related closure.

10 a.m. Monday: Winter-weather highway closures narrowed

The Arizona Department of Transportation announced on Twitter Monday morning that the winter-weather highway closures had narrowed down to two. Drivers are still advised to proceed with caution and travel safely.

  • State Route 64 is closed between mileposts 242 and 269 near the Grand Canyon
  • State Route 260 is closed between mileposts 220 and 251 (between State Route 87 and Camp Verde)

Per AAA, highways are expected to be congested as holiday travelers make their way home, with the worst traffic time expected between 4 p.m. and 7 p.m.

Travelers can check updated road conditions at az511.gov.

7 p.m. Sunday: Winter conditions shut down numerous roads

The Arizona Department of Transportation warned drivers that winter conditions shut down a plethora of roads across the state. The closures include:

  • Eastbound State Route 260 at milepost 256 - about four miles from Payson
  • Eastbound I-40 at milepost 146 (near SR 89 in Ash Fork)
  • SR 64 near the Grand Canyon (between mileposts 242-269)
  • Northbound I-17 near SR 179
  • Southbound SR 89A at milepost 399 (near I-17)
  • Northbound SR 89A at milepost 375
  • Westbound I-40 at milepost 252 in Winslow
  • Southbound SR 87 at milepost 340

ADOT said snow plows were working "around the clock" to clear affected roads and advised drivers to stay at least four car lengths away behind one and never attempt to pass. Travelers can check updated road conditions at az511.gov.

1:15 p.m. Sunday: National Weather Service warns people to take shelter amid possible hail and high winds; SR 87 and 64 closed in both directions

The National Weather Service's Phoenix office urged people in the northwestern part of the Valley to take shelter as 50 mph winds and potentially pea-sized hail will likely pelt the area until 3 p.m. The warning applied to Phoenix, Glendale and Peoria — up to near Wickenburg and past Anthem.

The Arizona Department of Transportation also warned drivers around the same time that State Route 87 was closed in both directions due to "winter-weather conditions" north of Payson and recommend they postpone travel until conditions improve.

The Grand Canyon National Park Service also tweeted that hazardous weather conditions shut down State Route 64 in both directions along Hermit Road and that approximately two inches of snow had accumulated along the South Rim as of 2:15 p.m.

11:45 a.m. Sunday: Winter Weather Advisory remains in effect at Mt. Lemmon

The National Weather Service tweeted that a Winter Weather Advisory for mountainous areas in southern Arizona remains in effect through Monday morning, with storms possibly bringing up to 12 inches of snow to the area.

5:20 p.m. Saturday: Sheriff's Office urges residents to use non-emergency line to report fireworks violations

The Maricopa County Sheriff's Office is asking the public to use the non-emergency line to report fireworks violations instead of calling 911. 

Via a Twitter post, the Sheriff's Office encouraged people to call the non-emergency line at 602-876-1011. 

The Sheriff's Office said an influx of 911 calls for fireworks could delay responses for anyone dealing with a real emergency. 

Meanwhile, for residents who own a pet, the Arizona Humane Society encourages owners to avoid fireworks trauma by staying mindful of their animal's whereabouts at all times and not leaving them unattended outside. 

The Humane Society also recommended that owners keep their pets away from fireworks displays and distract them from loud noises by turning on the radio or TV. The group offers a complete list of pet safety tips.

2:30 p.m. Saturday: Authorities remind residents that celebratory gunshots are illegal

With time winding down until new year's celebrations, authorities in Arizona are reminding residents that it is illegal to shoot a gun into the air.

Both Phoenix Police and Peoria Police tweeted reminders Saturday that shooting a gun into the air is a Class 6 felony.

This restriction is due to a state law known as "Shannon's Law." In 2000, Arizona lawmakers made it illegal to negligently fire a weapon within a municipality after a 14-year-old girl, Shannon Smith, was killed by a stray bullet a year earlier.

The Arizona Republic reported in 2019 that authorities have gone door-to-door to educate residents about Shannon's Law ahead of the holidays when celebratory gunfire might take place.

Those who violate the law could face a presumptive term of one year in prison or an aggravated term of two years in prison. 

1 p.m. Saturday: Year ends with another high pollution advisory

The Maricopa County Air Quality Department has issued a high pollution advisory for Saturday as dust and smoke climb to unhealthful levels across Phoenix.

The advisory means a ban on leaf-blowers and other landscaping equipment, as well as off-road vehicle travel. It also means Saturday is a no-burn day. Residents should not start wood fires in fireplaces, chimeneas or open pits.

High dust and smoke levels create serious health risks for people with asthma, COPD and other respiratory ailments. The smallest dust particles can invade lungs and even get into the bloodstream. Fireworks and firecrackers often increase the smoke concentration.

The county offers more information here.

A winter storm moving through late Saturday and Sunday could help improve air quality.

Noon Saturday: Fog, rain and snow in Flagstaff

If you're heading north to ring in the new year, dress warm and prepare for possibly hazardous driving conditions as another winter storm sweeps across Arizona.

The National Weather Service reported fog around Flagstaff Saturday morning and the Arizona Department of Transportation posted photos of rain mixed with snow on Coconino County freeways.

The weather service has posted a winter storm warning for areas above the Mogollon Rim starting early Sunday, with areas of heavy snow forecast above 6,000 feet. The warning says travel could become difficult to impossible and blowing snow could reduce visibility to near zero at times.

A chance of showers will linger all day Saturday, with highs in Flagstaff barely reaching 40 degrees. Snow is expected to increase after midnight, ushering in the new year.

8 p.m. Friday: Loop 303 to be closed through January

Freeway construction will cause closures on westbound stretches of Loop 303 starting next weekend, the Arizona Department of Transportation announced Tuesday.

The first closure will take effect 4 a.m. Jan. 7 until 11 p.m. Jan. 8 between Interstate 17 and Lake Pleasant Parkway, according to ADOT.

Drivers should use alternate routes including westbound State Route 74 to southbound Lake Pleasant to connect to 303 past the closure, ADOT said.

A portion of 303 will also close 8 p.m. Jan. 13 until 5 a.m. Jan. 16 westbound between I-17 and Lake Pleasant, according to ADOT.

The I-17 off-ramps on Loop 303 will be limited to eastbound Sonoran Desert Drive, while the road's westbound access on Sonoran Desert to northbound and southbound I-17 on-ramps will remain open, the department said.

ADOT also said there will be intermittent rolling closures on Loop 303 between I-17 and Lake Pleasant during weekdays between 9 a.m.-11 a.m. and 7 p.m.-9 p.m. through the end of January.

Jose R. Gonzalez

11 a.m. Friday: Oak Hill Snow Play Area near Williams closed

The Kaibab National Forest Service tweeted Friday morning that the Oak Hill Snow Play Area, a recreational site about 14 minutes outside of Williams, is closed for public safety.

They said work is being done to "reduce hazardous fuels and mitigate wildfire risk."

Other areas of the forest are open for winter recreation. For more information, visit the Forest Service's web site.

Ellie Willard

11 a.m. Friday: Intersection of Cooper and Elliot roads closed in Gilbert

On Friday morning, the Gilbert Police Department tweeted that the intersection of North Cooper and West Elliot roads in Gilbert will be closed until the end of the year.

"All traffic will be diverted at the nearest traffic signal in all directions. Please use alternate routes while in the area this weekend," Gilbert police tweeted.

The department announced the closure just after 6 a.m. citing flooding due to a water leak

Ellie Willard

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10:10 a.m. Friday: Hermit Road near Grand Canyon closed, State Route 64 open

The Grand Canyon National park announced that Desert View Drive (State Route 64) between Grand Canyon Village and Desert View reopened after being closed most of the early morning. However, Hermit Road remains closed.

According to Grand Canyon National Park, Desert View Drive will close during and after snowstorms.

The national park says "during winter storms, travelers should expect winter driving conditions and some roadways may be temporarily closed while snow is cleared. Be prepared for slippery, snow covered roads and limited visibility. Drive with care. During the winter, road conditions can change rapidly."

Travelers can call 928-638-7496 for recorded updates.

Ring in 2023:New Year's Eve 2022: Best ways to ring in 2023 in Arizona's favorite holiday cities

5:00 PM - MCSO urges residents to use non-emergency line to report fireworks violations

The Maricopa County Sheriff's Office has urged the public to use their non-emergency line to report fireworks violations instead of calling 911. 

Via a Twitter post, the MCSO encouraged people to call their non-emergency line at (602)-876-1011. 

The sheriff's office said that an influx of 911 calls for fireworks could delay responses for anyone dealing with a real emergency. 

For any residents who own a pet, the Arizona Humane Society has encouraged owners to avoid fireworks by staying mindful of their animal's whereabouts at all times and not leaving them unattended outside. 

The Humane Society also recommended that owners keep their pets away from firework displays and distract them from loud noises by turning on the radio or TV. A complete list of pet safety tips can be found here: http://www.azhumane.org/news/keep-pets-safe-while-ringing-in-the-new-year/

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