Snow in northern Arizona has crews plowing highways in Flagstaff, Williams areas


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BELLEMONT, Arizona — A rare springtime snowstorm hit a small town just west of Flagstaff, dumping more than 7 inches of snow.

The Flagstaff airport has seen more than 3 inches of snow on May 15 or later only a handful of times.

Flagstaff and Bellemont have similar climatology, but a cold trough settled over Bellemont overnight and left just traces of snow in Flagstaff on Friday.

"It's always good to see rain and snow this late in the season," said Brian Klimowski of the National Weather Service. "Every storm we get like this helps push back the onset of our fire season."

By this time last year, many northern Arizona cities and forests had fire restrictions in place.

The weather service said rain and snow showers will increase Friday from west to east, with precipitation becoming more widespread in the afternoon and lingering into the evening hours.

The weather is expected to calm down Saturday, with drying conditions Sunday. A chance for showers and a slight cooling trend return Monday and Tuesday.

Flagstaff averages about 1.5 inches of snow in May, but Klimowski said "to see heavy snow in late May is rather uncommon." He said Flagstaff could end up with about 4 inches of snow by the time the storm is done.

The latest snowfall on record for the Flagstaff airport is June 8 more than 100 years ago.

The mountain city is still well below the average 102 inches of snowfall for the season at 62 inches.

Friday's snowfall didn't cause any major problems. A travel center in Bellemont was without power for about three hours after a transformer blew, but Arizona Public Service Co. said it couldn't say definitively whether it was caused by the weather.

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