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Mon, Sept. 21

Northern Arizona digs out following Thanksgiving snowstorm

A Thanksgiving holiday storm rolled through Williams and other parts of northern Arizona Nov. 29. Powerful wind, rain and snow wreaked havoc as several portions of major highways were closed and some residents and businesses were without power. (Wendy Howell/WGCN)

A Thanksgiving holiday storm rolled through Williams and other parts of northern Arizona Nov. 29. Powerful wind, rain and snow wreaked havoc as several portions of major highways were closed and some residents and businesses were without power. (Wendy Howell/WGCN)

WILLIAMS, Ariz. (AP) — Arizona continues to recover from a major snowstorm, with additional highways reopening Nov. 30 and power being restored to Tusayan and Grand Canyon National Park.

The community of Williams received around 12 inches of snow early Nov. 29 and snow continued to fall in blizzard-like conditions through Nov. 30.

Portions of Interstate 40 and Interstate 17 were closed early Nov. 29 as crews battled the rapidly growing layer of snow. Travelers were unable to access I-40 between US 93 and Winslow for most of the day Nov. 29.

Williams Christmas Parade and Holiday Tree Lighting was cancelled and will not be rescheduled, organizers said.

A wintry storm packed an unexpected punch overnight up and down Arizona, delivering snow, rain and in Phoenix’s case — torn-do warnings. Crews around the state spent the morning cleaning up roads, downed trees and minor flooding. Firefighters rescued three people near Camp Verde whose RV became stuck in a flooded meadow.

Coconino County officials say power was restored overnight in Tusayan, and the American Red Cross closed a shelter in the park where 82 people stayed overnight.

Tusayan, which is about a mile south of Grand Canyon National Park, declared a state of emergency the afternoon of Friday, Nov. 29. Coconino County officials said via Twitter that the town was deluged with blizzard-like weather and had been without electricity since 3 a.m. The American Red Cross set up a shelter at a National Park Service training center inside the park.

The Grand Canyon’s South Rim area saw up to 24 inches of snow, according to the National Weather Service in Flagstaff. Park officials urged travelers to stay off the road for the rest of the day.

The state Department of Transportation said highways reopened Nov. 30 included State Route 87 between Payson and State Route 260 and SR 260 between Camp Verde and SR 87.

Snow totals

Arizona Snowbowl: 30 inches

Grand Canyon: 24 inches

Flagstaff: 19 inches

Williams: 18 inches

Bellemont: 17 inches

Flagstaff Airport: 16.8 inches

Strawberry: 12 inches

Vernon: 12 inches

Ash Fork: 12 inches

Mcnary: 10.5 inches

Pinetop-Lakeside: 9.5 inches

However, ADOT said drivers could continue to see snow-packed and icy road conditions on many routes in Arizona’s high country.

Segments of Interstate 17 and 40 that were closed because of the storm were reopened Friday afternoon.

The National Weather Service said Williams received up to 19 inches of snow.

The Arizona Department of Transportation did reopen two highways in the northern part of the state. Northbound Interstate 17 north of the Sedona turnoff and Interstate 40 near Flagstaff were forced to close the night of Nov. 28 because of snow.

Flagstaff and Prescott received 12 inches and up to 10 inches of snow, respectively, by late Friday morning.

Other power outages led the American Red Cross to also open a warming center at a Prescott Valley high school. Any local residents can wait out the cold with water and snacks.

Wendy Howell contributed to this story.

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