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The winter that won't quit
Williams and northern Arizona hit hard by heavy winds and snow with latest winter storm

Storm after storm has rolled into Williams this winter, making plowing and shoveling a constant chore for residents and city workers. (Wendy Howell/WGCN)

Storm after storm has rolled into Williams this winter, making plowing and shoveling a constant chore for residents and city workers. (Wendy Howell/WGCN)

WILLIAMS, Ariz. — Another winter storm is on the way for Williams, although residents and city workers are still digging out from a one-two punch of storms last week.

The National Weather Service in Flagstaff said a major winter storm will affect the region starting late Feb. 28 into March 2.

The storm will produce difficult travel conditions, heavy snow accumulations, low snow levels and drifting snow. Snowfall is expected to be between 18-22 inches for Williams and 21-27 inches in Parks. The South Rim of the Grand Canyon could receive 9-13 inches of snow.

A storm system moved through the areas the week of Feb. 19 knocking out power to thousands of customers and shutting down major roadways in northern Arizona and New Mexico, keeping an icy grip on much of the Southwest. Another storm was close behind and dropped 8-10 inches of snow Feb. 25.

Ten inches snow was reported in the mountains of north east Arizona, with wind-whipped drifts up to 2 feet high near McNary, south of Holbrook, the National Weather Service said.

In Arizona, stretches of Interstate 40 reopened Feb. 22, but the road remained closed into the evening in both directions out of Flagstaff for about 180 miles from Winslow to U.S. 93 at Kingman near the California and Nevada borders.

State police in New Mexico said they were shutting down I-40 on-ramps in Gallup, just across the Arizona line, but would keep one open for residents and drivers seeking overnight accommodations "due to extreme weather."

More than 5,700 homes were without power in the morning in metro Phoenix along with 10,000 in the Flagstaff area, where snowfall and wind gusts of 68 mph caused whiteout conditions.

The highest gusts in Arizona registered 85 mph off I-17, about halfway between Flagstaff and Phoenix, the service said. The Arizona Department of Transportation took the rare step of preemptively closing major roads.

High wind gusts also resulted in 66 flights being canceled and 45 others delayed at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport by 9 a.m. Wednesday.

A powerful winter storm that swept down the West Coast with flooding and frigid temperatures shifted its focus to southern California Feb. 25, swelling rivers to dangerous levels and dropping snow in even low-lying areas around Los Angeles.

The National Weather Service said it was one of the strongest storms to ever hit southwest California and even as the volume of wind and rain dropped, it continued to have significant impact including snowfall down to elevations as low as 1,000 feet. Hills around suburban Santa Clarita, north of Los Angeles, were blanketed in white, and snow also surprised inland suburbs to the east.

Rare blizzard warnings for the mountains and widespread flood watches were ending late in the day as the storm tapered off in the region. Forecasters said there would be a one-day respite before the next storm arrived Feb. 27.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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