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Sheriff: White-out snow closes Mt. Lemmon

Only residents and employees driving 4x4 vehicles with chains were being allowed on the road up Mt. Lemmon on Friday morning, as "white-out" conditions made travel in the mountains hazardous.

Heavy snow shut down the General Hitchcock Highway into the Santa Catalina Mountains north of Tucson, Pima County Sheriff's Department officials said.

While clouds and rain blanketed the valley below, several inches of snow were falling on the mountains, 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 50-60 mph are possible, with sustained winds of 20-35 mph forecast.

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Snow on Mt. Lemmon in a photo posted Thursday by the Pima County Sheriff's Department.