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Blizzard warning issued for S. Az mountains

The National Weather Service has issued a blizzard warning for Southern Arizona, saying that 19 inches or more of snow could fall in the mountains throughout Wednesday. NWS also issued a winter storm warning for areas above 3,000 feet, including Nogales, Sierra Vista, Vail, Benson and Oracle.

Snow could fall in the Tucson valley, with up to three inches dusting the metro area by Wednesday night.

The blizzard warning, in effect from 6 a.m.-11 p.m. Wednesday, covers areas above 5,000 feet, including the Catalina, Rincon, and Santa Rita mountains surrounding Tucson, the Huachuca, Dragoon, Mule and Chiricahua ranges, and the Gailiuro and Pinaleno mountains.

Snow is expected to accumulate beginning at sunrise, with the heaviest snowfall from 9 a.m.-7 p.m.

Between 7-14 inches are possible below 7,000 feet in mountain areas, with 14-19 inches or more possible above that elevation. 

In areas covered by the winter storm warning, in effect from 6 a.m.-11 p.m., 3-7 inches of snow may fall above 3,000 feet. In the Tucson valley, 1-3 inches could fall, with snow levels reaching down to 2,200 feet by Wednesday night. The high temperature will be just 47 degrees.

Strong winds of 30-40 mph are expected, with gusts up to 55 mph forecast.

The Weather Service warned against traveling in the snow, saying whiteout conditions are possible.

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Things will warm up a bit toward the end of the week: Thursday's high will be 52, and temperatures will touch the low 60s by Saturday.

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