Winter not ready to quit
Snowfall 150 percent of average
WILLIAMS - Snow continued to fall last week, wreaking havoc on Interstate 40 and prompting local residents to pull out their snow shovels once again.
According to information from the National Weather Service in Bellemont, last Tuesday's storm dropped up to six inches of snow in Williams.
The snowfall brought winter driving conditions to area highways creating slick roadways and poor visibility. A multiple vehicle accident March 10 involving a semi-trailer, two tour busses and other vehicles closed west bound Interstate 40 for 2 1/2 hours from Flagstaff to A-1 Mountain Road.
Warning Coordination Meteorologist George Howard said snowfall has been above average along the Western Rim including Flagstaff, Bellemont and Williams.
"We're running better than 150 percent of average snowfall for this time of year if you count from Jan. 1 to the present," Howard said. "Of course that catches our big snow event in about the third week of January right on through until now."
Howard continued, saying most of the rest of the state has seen between one and a half to three times normal precipitation levels.
The National Weather Service forcasts seven days ahead and then looks to the Climate Prediction Center (CPC) for predictions beyond that time period.
After reviewing CPC information, Howard said average temperatures around the Western Rim will likely be slightly cooler than normal through April. He went on to say that his analysis of CPC data indicates that a diminishing El Nino will likely persist through April bringing with it a better than 50 percent chance of elevated precipitation in the region.
According to Howard, snowfall this year in the region ranks in the top five since 1898, the year the weather service began keeping records. Since September, 138.2 inches of snow have been recorded at the Flagstaff Airport.
"We're only 6/10 inch behind number four and 8/10 inch behind number three," Howard said. "We're pretty high up there."