- Associated Press - Thursday, January 7, 2016

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) - The latest on winter weather in Arizona due to El Nino storms (all times local):

5:10 p.m.

Weather in Phoenix has taken another wet and wild turn, bringing thunder, lightning and even hail.

Thunderous claps and lightning hit central Phoenix before 5 p.m. Thursday as the skies became mostly gray.

Residents also reported small chunks of hail.

The storm struck after a brief afternoon respite from rain with occasional sunlight.

The latest in a series of El Nino-related storms has dumped snow across northern Arizona and soaked parts of metropolitan Phoenix.


4:55 p.m.

The latest in a series of El Nino-related storms has dumped a foot of new snow in Williams and several inches in other parts of northern Arizona.

The National Weather Service says the worst of the storms came Thursday but areas south of Flagstaff still could see heavy snow.

The weather is expected to dry out slowly Friday before another much smaller storm hits Saturday night into Sunday.

More than 2 feet of snow fell in Flagstaff, Williams and in the community of Forest Lakes this week. The forecast for late Thursday and Friday calls for anywhere from an inch of snow in Fredonia, to six inches in Flagstaff and a foot in Alpine in eastern Arizona.

Authorities say road conditions will worsen as temperatures drop overnight.


4:15 p.m.

Two people who were stuck overnight on a Phoenix-area mountain after riding a quad vehicle in snow have been rescued.

The Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office says the two riders were located Thursday afternoon and are on their way down Four Peaks Mountain.

Sheriff’s spokesman Christopher Hegstrom says he did not know their conditions.

Hegstrom says the two riders went out on a quad Wednesday around 4 p.m. and became stuck.

They notified authorities, who had been searching through rugged terrain.


2:40 p.m.

El Nino storms have prompted a flood advisory for suburbs north of Phoenix.

The National Weather Service issued a new advisory Thursday afternoon for a northeast portion of Maricopa County that will go into effect until 6:15 p.m.

Forecasters say they anticipate more light to moderate rain around Phoenix-area cities such as Cave Creek, New River and Fountain Hills.

Motorists are advised to not try and cross any flooded roads.


10:30 a.m.

El Nino storms moving across Arizona soaked the Phoenix area and slowed traffic during the morning commute.

The metro area received intermittent heavy rain Thursday morning, causing minor flooding on a segment of Interstate 17 in central Phoenix.

Rainfall amounts in central Phoenix ranged up to a half-inch over a six-hour period through late Thursday morning.

An Arizona Department of Public Safety spokesman says there were at least a dozen minor collisions on Phoenix-area freeways Thursday morning.


8: 00 a.m.

The National Weather Service says there are whiteout conditions in the Flagstaff area of northern Arizona and is urging people to forego travel if possible, particularly along Interstates 17 and 40 in that area.

An El Nino storm is dumping heavy snow in the region as it moved eastward from California. Meanwhile, rain is falling elsewhere in Arizona.

The Arizona Department of Transportation advises travelers to check weather and road conditions before heading out and to be prepared for adverse weather conditions.

The department says motorists should slow down and takes water, food, warm clothing and other supplies that may be needed.


7:10 a.m.

Grand Canyon National Park has halted all shuttle bus service until further due to the weather.

Park officials said Thursday morning that South Rim roads are snow-packed and icy.

Most park facilities on the North Rim are closed for the winter.


7 a.m.

Public schools are closed in Flagstaff as northern Arizona continues to receive heavy snowfall from the latest El Nino-related storm.

The Flagstaff school district cited weather and road conditions for its decision to close schools Thursday. Flagstaff schools also were closed Wednesday.

The National Weather Service issued a winter storm warning for much of northern Arizona through midday Friday due to heavy snowfall - as much as an inch an hour.

Flagstaff had 19 inches of snow on the ground as of Thursday morning, including 4.6 inches fallen since midnight Wednesday. Forecasters said Flagstaff would likely get an additional 9 to 13 inches by midday Friday.

Elsewhere in Arizona, flooding was reported on State Route 88 northeast of Apache Junction. Some unbridged crossings of Tucson-area desert washes were closed.

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