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1-3 ft. blizzard snows, high winds forecast for S. Az mountains Friday

While clouds and rain blanketed the valleys below, several inches of snow were falling on the mountains of Southern Arizona, with a strong winter storm forecast for Friday night.

Blizzard-like conditions are likely overnight, with 12-36 inches of snow possible in areas above 5,000 feet. Snow levels could drop as low as 4,000 feet. Wind gusts of 55 mph are possible, with sustained winds of 20-35 mph forecast by the National Weather Service.

A high wind advisory will be in effect for nearly all of Southern Arizona from 8 p.m. Friday until 8 a.m. Saturday. Higher winds are expected at higher elevations, officials said, cautioning drivers of high-profile vehicles.

A winter storm warning will be in effect until noon Saturday, with snow levels dropping to 4,500 feet or lower overnight. Up to 36 inches of now could fall above 7,000 feet, with the heaviest snow dropping overnight and into Saturday morning. Six inches to a foot of snow could fall in areas between 5,500 and 7,000 feet.

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Snow on Mt. Lemmon, January 2016.