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Freeze warning in Southern Arizona, snow on Mt. Lemmon

Most years, the end of May in Tucson means preparing for the heat, if not already dealing with it. This week instead brings a freeze warning in the Willcox and Sulphur Springs Valley areas, and snow flurries atop the Santa Catalina Mountains.

Temperatures overnight could drop to 28 degrees in the Upper Gila River Valley and Sulphur Springs Valley area, including Willcox, and Las Cienegas in northeastern Santa Cruz County, including Sonoita and Elgin.

Providing some relief to farmers in the area, an earlier freeze watch was cancelled, as temperatures aren't expected to drop as low as previously expected.

The lowest temperatures are forecast between 4:30 a.m. and 6 a.m. on Tuesday, National Weather Service officials said, with the warning in effect 3-7 a.m. Morning lows in most places covered by the warning will hover right at freezing: 30-32 degrees.

Not all of Southern Arizona will be quite so brisk. The forecast overnight low for central Tucson is in the mid-40s.

Those living in the areas affected by the warning should wrap your pipes, cover your plants, bring your pets inside and be kind to people who are outdoors at night.

At higher elevations throughout Southern Arizona, Monday brought snow showers, with some light accumulation at 8,500 feet and above, including on Mt. Lemmon. Lower elevations saw wind and light rains.

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May 20, 2019, 6:35 pm
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Although snow is often an April oddity in Chicago just when residents think they’re home free, this is the first time in my 74 years in Tucson that I remember a May freeze. As a youth, I was always concerned that my April 12th Birthday swim parties might have to be called off, but I really can’t remember as cold a May day as this. At Sam Hughes we were doing a maypole dance in the courtyard around this time.

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