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Winter weather sweeps through

The Camp Verde Journal of Camp Verde, Arizona

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The National Weather Service continued to tally the inches of snowfall deposited by a strong winter storm that swept across Northern Arizona on Dec. 12 and 13.

Snow was falling in areas as low as 5,000 feet during the two-day storm, according to the NWS.

An area west of Prescott reported 9 inches of snowfall, the most reported in Yavapai County to NWS as of Dec. 14. About 6 inches fell in Oak Creek Canyon and 4 inches fell in an area northwest of Prescott.

Reports of snow accumulation are still coming into the NWS office in Flagstaff. Accumulation totals will continue to be updated as additional storm snowfall reports are received, according to a press release.

Dry Beaver Creek and Montezuma Castle reported about an inch of precipitation. Data collection sites in Cottonwood, Cornville and Camp Verde did not report accumulated snowfall, but Cottonwood-Oak Creek School District Weather Bug reported 1.62 inches of precipitation over the two days.

Precipitation is a measure of water content in the snow, which is different than snow accumulation. Snow accumulation must be measured by hand. Most of the time, precipitation is automatically measured by data collection devices, Flagstaff meteorologist Daryl Onton said.

"Our last storm system came in off the Pacific [Ocean]," Onton said. "It turned into a pretty strong low pressure system over the Southwest and ended up giving us pretty good amounts of precipitation Monday through Tuesday, tapering off into Wednesday, [Dec. 14]."

Heavy and persistent bands of snow set up over the Eastern Mogollon Rim during the two-day storm, he said.

"Some of those areas got very heavy snowfall," Onton said. "One area got 33 inches of snow. Flagstaff got more than a foot."

After a two-day break in the clouds that produced plenty of sun and warmer temperatures, Onton said Thursday Dec. 15, that a new storm system was beginning to gather strength and expected to drop more snow by Sunday, Dec. 18.

"The next storm is currently dropping southward along the California coast," Onton said. "This is going to become a cut-off, low-pressure system. It is going to basically stall around Southern California and Northern Baja for the next few days."

Sunday, Dec. 18, was Onton's "best estimate" for when the storm would start moving across Arizona.

More sun and warmer temperatures were predicted for the days leading up to Christmas Day on Sunday, Dec. 25. Skies will be alternately sunny or partly cloudy with a slight chance for rain forecast for Thursday, Dec. 22, according to the NWS website.

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Original Publication Date: December 21, 2011

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