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Flaky forecast: 6-22 inches of snow possible in Southern Arizona mountains

Flaky forecast: 6-22 inches of snow possible in Southern Arizona mountains

Valley rains & gusting winds across region Monday & Tuesday, NWS says

  • Snow on Mt. Lemmon at the end of December
    Paul Ingram/TucsonSentinel.comSnow on Mt. Lemmon at the end of December

The Catalina and Rincon mountains, and other ranges across Southeast Arizona, could be blanketed with snow this week as three winter storms are expected to cross the region. Monday and Tuesday, snow is forecast above 5,000 feet.

"Enjoy the warmth today because it will be gone tomorrow!," National Weather Service officials said Sunday. "A storm system will force colder air across Arizona tonight and Monday resulting in a dramatic change in temperatures over the 24-hour period. The storm will also bring valley rain and mountain snow showers and maybe a rumble of thunder here and there on Monday."

The wintry weather could last throughout the day Monday, and on Tuesday a second storm is expected to move across Southern Arizona, with a third likely over the weekend.

A winter weather advisory was issued, in effect from 5 a.m. to 11 p.m. Monday, for the Catalina, Rincon and Santa Rita mountains around Tucson. The advisory also covers the Galiuro and Pinaleño mountains, and the Chiricahua, Dragoon and Mule ranges. The city of Bisbee is included in the area where snowfall is expected.

Between 5,000 and 7,000 feet, snow accumulations of 3-5 inches are possible Monday, with up to 11 inches of snow potentially piling up above that elevation.

Wind gusts could hit 40 mph. Officials advised that drivers should "plan on slippery road conditions."

In lower elevations, rain is likely Monday.

Another winter weather advisory will be in effect from 5 p.m. Tuesday through 6 a.m. Wedneday, for the Catalina and Rincon mountains, and the Galiuro and Pinaleño ranges. More snow could add another 11 inches in higher elevations, with 3-5 inches possible at 5,000-7,000 feet.

Winds could hit 75 mph in some mountain areas, and in Oracle and Sierra Vista, during the second storm, NWS officials said. A high wind watch will be in effect Tuesday for those areas.

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