Arizona Airport, Highways Shut Down; Flagstaff Receives Record Snow From Winter Storm Quiana

The Weather Channel

Winter Storm Quiana continued to dump heavy snow on parts of Arizona Friday, prompting emergency declarations, closing schools across the region, shutting down interstates and bringing record snow to the Flagstaff area.

Flagstaff Pulliam Airport remained closed Friday morning, a day after reduced visibility forced its closure, KTAR reported. More than 38 inches of snow fell at the airport Wednesday into Friday, covering the runway.  

With more than 35 inches of snow on Thursday alone, it was the snowiest single day on record for the city of Flagstaff. The heavy snowfall prompted city officials to declare a state of emergency.

Between 3 a.m. and noon Thursday, the Arizona Department of Public Safety said troopers in four northern districts responded to 152 calls for stuck vehicles and slide-offs and 28 non-injury and injury crashes.

(MORE: Check the Forecast for Winter Storm Quiana)

The main highway between Phoenix and Las Vegas was closed because of heavy snow. Nearly 80 miles of Interstate 11 and U.S. 93 from Boulder City to Kingman, Arizona, was closed.

Northbound I-17 was closed just north of Camp Verde.

As of about 2 p.m, according to KPNX-TV, the Arizona Department of Transportation listed other major closures on Interstate 40 eastbound at State Route 95; State Route 89A just outside of Flagstaff; State Route 260 in both directions between Star Valley and Heber-Overgaard; SR 260 eastbound east of I-17; and State Route 87 was closed from Payson to Winslow.

Schools throughout the state will remain closed Friday.


More than 300 flights were canceled Thursday at McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas, according to FlightAware.

Traffic on southbound Interstate 15 was being directed off the highway at Pimm, Nevada, because the road was closed from the state line to Bakersfield, California, until shortly after 3 p.m. local time.

The Nevada Highway Patrol said southbound U.S. 95, the other major route from Las Vegas to California, also closed because of hazardous road conditions and stuck vehicles. Traffic was being diverted back to Las Vegas at mile marker 35.

I-11 was closed at mile marker 2 south of Henderson because of the heavy snow.

Las Vegas saw its first measurable snowfall in more than a decade. Eight-tenths of an inch of accumulating snow was recorded Thursday at McCarran Airport, making it the fifth day this month the city has received some snow. Thursday was also the first time Vegas has received measurable snow since Dec. 17, 2008.

The last time Las Vegas received five days of snow in February was 1949, according to the National Weather Service.

Residents in Summerlin and the Red Rock Country Club, west of the Las Vegas, said the snow was breaking tree limbs there, KSNV reported. One limb fell on a car.

Many Clark County students — and some parents — were hoping for a snow day Thursday, but the district kept schools open. That surprised some parents.

“A lot of people can’t drive in the rain, and then you bring in the snow and then people panic,” Richard Nicolas told KSVN. “I saw people commenting on Facebook, ‘How am I going to get my child to school?’ So I see a lot of parents saying they’re going to keep their child at home.”


Back in Arizona, Prescott Mayor Greg Mengarelli signed an emergency proclamationThursday, which allows the city to seek reimbursement if and when a state or federal emergency or disaster declaration is made.

In addition to Flagstaff, Coconino County and the city of Prescott also declared states of emergency. Coconino County also closed government offices through the weekend.

Arianne Nicole Yago, an admissions officer at Northern Arizona University, told the AP she is from Hawaii but has spent the past three years in Flagstaff.

“It’s fun from the inside when you’re watching the snow, cause it’s such a different experience. For Hawaiian people, this is like a blessing in such a different world. But when you do drive, it is a little scary,” Yago said.

The Phoenix Fire Department said part of a roof on an unoccupied home was blown off by strong winds, KPNX reported. The roof landed in a neighbor’s yard. There were no injuries.


California was also taking another beating from winter weather.

The Grapevine portion of Interstate 5 had to be closed until plows could clear enough snow. About 3 p.m. local time, the California Highway Patrol tweeted that it was escorting traffic over the pass at 25 mph.

Actor Jerry O’Connell excitedly announced on Twitter that Calabasas, in the Santa Monica Mountains of Southern California, was seeing snow.

Snowflakes even flew in the Santa Monica Mountains near Malibu and in West Hollywood, prompting the Los Angeles Police Department to tweet, “No need to panic Los Angeles.”

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