The NWS frequently issues advisories, watches and warnings. Which is the most serious?
According to the NWS, a Winter Weather Advisory is issued when snow, blowing snow, ice, sleet or a combination of these are expected, but the conditions should not be hazardous.
Winter Storm Watches are issued when conditions are favorable for a significant winter storm event. People should be prepared for heavy sleet, heavy snow, blowing snow, or more.
Winter Storm Warnings are the strongest - people should expect a significant weather event including snow, ice, sleet or other hazards. Roads and travel will become difficult or even impossible. Travel plans should be delayed.
This weekend, a Winter Storm Warning has been issued from 6 AM Thursday to Noon Saturday above 5500 feet, when two storms are expected to pass across northern Arizona.
Timing: Light to moderate snow will develop and spread from west to east during the day thursday. moderate to heavy snow will develop Thursday night… decreasing in intensity during the day Friday. A second wave of heavy snow will develop Friday evening into Saturday morning.
Beyond Saturday, the NWS is predicting a quiet Sunday, with a third storm early Monday, similar to the first two storms.
Total snow accumulations:
Between 5500-7000 feet: 8-16 inches
Above 7000 feet: 12-24 inches
Lower elevation areas of Prescott: Light snow through Friday, heaviest snow Friday night.
Higher Elevation regions to the south and west of downtown Prescott will receive heavy snow at times throughout the entire event.
Other impacts include gusty southwest winds, reduced visibility, blowing and drifting snow.
The NWS warns, “Driving will be extremely dangerous during this storm. For up-to-date road conditions, call ADOT’s Freeway Management system at 1-888-411-7623 or visit AZ511.com.
According to Yavapai County Emergency Management, primary concerns are loss of heat, power and telephone service and a shortage of supplies if storm conditions continue for more than a few days. "Residents should prepare for winter driving conditions, closed roads, delay road clearing, and should keep extra supplies on hand at home and in vehicles.”
The best tip is to stay home if possible, in bad weather. If that’s not an option, be prepared for traveling in winter weather.
The NWS suggests creating an emergency supply kit for your car:
On the home front, make sure you have supplies on hand for a stormy event.
- Prescription medications
- Extra water
- Plenty of Food (including some that doesn’t need to be cooked)
- Flashlights and candles
- Extra batteries
- Charged cell phones
- External battery packs for phones
- Winter coats, hats, gloves & scarves
- Emergency phone numbers
The City of Prescott has set up a snow removal page on their website with a map. Streets marked in red are the highest priority for plowing.
According to the FAQ regarding snow events there are over 600 lane miles within the City to be plowed. It takes a minimum of two days to plow an average stormfall of 4-6 inches after the snow has stopped.
Do not park on the street. In some cases, the plows cannot safely get around your vehicle, and your street will be passed by. "Do not park in the middle of the road or you will be towed. Illegally parked cars are a major cause of roads being left unplowed.”
"If there is a high probability that a storm will hit within the City, a base crew will be mobilized. When snow starts falling, as observed by the patrol or base crew, our full snow shift will be deployed. This means we may have approximately 12 snowplow operators on the streets. Crews remain on 12-hour shifts for 24-hour coverage until the storm is over. After the storm, the crews conduct “clean-up” operations, where they go back and try to push or “wing back” the snow farther off the road to make room for snow from future storms."
If you have an emergency, call 911. “If the Police Department determines you have a qualifying emergency, a plow will be dispatched to help emergency crews get access."
For local school closures and delays, check Prescott eNews frequently.