- Associated Press - Thursday, January 19, 2017

PHOENIX (AP) - The Latest on Arizona weather (all times local):

1:30 p.m.

A Phoenix hot air balloon festival has been canceled due to a National Weather Service winter storm warning for parts of Arizona.

Officials released a statement Thursday saying the 6th Annual Arizona Balloon Classic has been rescheduled to early March because of heavy rain and strong winds.

A meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Phoenix says gusts could reach up to 40 mph Friday night and into Saturday across southern and central Arizona.

Meteorologist Jaret Rogers says the valley could get up to an inch of rain, with some localized flooding.

Cave Creek officials say residents can pick up sandbags at two fire stations.

The winter storm warning also includes heavy snow in higher elevations, including peaks in southeastern Arizona.


10:35 a.m.

Grand Canyon National Park has closed some roads on the South Rim due to snow and unsafe driving conditions.

Park officials say Desert View Drive is closed between Grand Canyon Village and Desert View and that West Rim Drive is closed between the village and Hermits Rest.

The North Rim is closed for winter.


10:10 a.m.

State transportation officials say some secondary highways could be closed in Arizona’s high country if driving conditions deteriorate from back-to-back storms expected to produce significant snowfall.

The Department of Transportation says it may close lesser-used highways so plows can focus on Interstates 17 and 40 and other busy routes if there’s enough snowfall.

ADOT says examples of highways that could be closed due to heavy snowfall include State Route 89A through Oak Creek Canyon and U.S. 180 northwest of Flagstaff and adds that closures could be prolonged.

The department says it has nearly 200 snowplows and 400 certified snowplow drivers ready to deal with snow and ice, but it says delaying travel is the safest thing to do during extreme weather.


8:50 a.m.

Two storms are expected to drop heavy snowfall on much of northern Arizona, eastern Arizona’s high country and mountains in southeastern Arizona.

The National Weather Service issued winter storm warnings for elevations above 5,500 feet.

Flagstaff is expected to get at least a foot of snow through Saturday from the two storms, the first of which on Thursday began dropping snow in higher elevations and rain elsewhere.

Forecasts call for Flagstaff and Williams to get at least a foot of snow through Saturday. Significant snowfall is also expected in many other communities.

After moderate to heavy snowfall Thursday and then a lessening on Friday, additional moderate to heavy snowfall is forecast late Friday and early Saturday.

A third storm is expected Monday.

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