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Freezing temperatures loom Tues & Weds nights

Jack Frost is preparing to nip at the noses of many Tucsonans, with the Weather Service warning about coming freezing temperatures, especially Tuesday and Wednesday nights. On Mt. Lemmon, 2-4 inches of snow fell Sunday night, but colder temperatures are moving in.

A freeze warning and hard freeze warning will be in effect Tuesday night through Wednesday morning, and again overnight Wednesday. Wrap your pipes, cover your plants, bring your pets inside and be kind to people who are outdoors at night. NWS is forecasting temperatures may drop as low as 28 degrees, or even colder. Much of Southern Arizona will see either freezing weather (32 degrees) or a hard freeze (below 28 degrees), officials said.

Tucson city transportation workers will spray magnesium chloride on 58 bridge decks Tuesday afternoon, and monitor the bridges overnight. The salt solution lowers the freezing temperature of water, helping slow the formation of ice. Because of cooling airflow above and underneath, bridges are more susceptible to hazardous ice than regular roadways.

NWS upgraded an earlier freeze watch to a warning, as somewhat colder temperatures are now expected than were forecast earlier.

The hard freeze warning in effect from midnight through 9 a.m. Tuesday and Wednesday nights will cover the upper Santa Cruz and Altar vallies, including Nogales, officials said.

Freeze warnings will be in effect for the Tucson metro area, also lasting midnight through 9 a.m. Wednesday and Thursday. That warning covers the Tohono O'odham Nation, Green Valley, Marana and Oro Valley, Oracle, Mammoth and the Picacho Peak area.

Temperatures will approach freezing around 1-2 a.m. in some areas, with the coldest temps from 5 a.m. to just after sunrise on Wednesday. In hard-freeze areas, temperatures may fall below freezing just after midnight and reach the low 20s.

Residents of much of Pima and Santa Cruz counties and southeastern Pinal County should cover sensitive plants and make sure their pipes are wrapped or drained, as well as bring their pets inside for the night.

Especially in areas covered by the hard freeze warning, those with in-ground sprinkler systems should drain them, and cover all above-ground water pipes.

The Mt. Lemmon Highway was reopened Monday after being shut down because of the snow, but chains and a 4x4 vehicle were required above Milepost 14 because of icy conditions in the mountains north of Tucson, authorities said.

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