As winter storm intensifies, be prepared for rain, wind and snow

Rain and wind gusts should turn overnight to light snow in high country

Message Board over Milton Rd in Flagstaff, AZ: Wind Advisory in EffectPHOENIX – A winter storm packing rain, wind and, later, the possibility of light snow and ice in the high country is all the more reason for Arizonans to drive with care and adjust their speed to conditions.

While much of the state is expected to see rain Friday, the forecast for many areas also calls for sustained winds of between 30 and 40 mph and even stronger gusts. Beginning Friday night, a cold front will lower snow levels to around 5,000 feet and drop temperatures, meaning drivers in Arizona’s high country should be prepared for the possibility of light snow accumulating as well as ice on the road.

The Arizona Department of Transportation’s nearly 200 snowplows and 400 certified snowplow drivers are ready to deal with snow and ice, and ADOT’s website offers tips for driving in the rain, in wind that reduces visibility and around snow and ice.

Here are some of them:

  • Slow down and be aware of the risk of skidding or hydroplaning.
  • Maintain a safe distance between your vehicle and the one in front of you. This helps prevent sudden braking, which can cause you to slide on wet or icy pavement.
  • Before you drive, inspect your windshield wipers, and replace them if necessary.
  • Turn on your headlights while driving in bad weather.
  • If you’re planning to drive in the high country, consult ADOT’s Know Snow winter-driving tips at These start with wearing warm clothing, having a fully charged cellphone and making sure your tank is at least half full at all times.

For the most current information about highway conditions and restrictions statewide, visit ADOT’s Travel Information Site at, follow us on Twitter (@ArizonaDOT) or call 511.