Dec 11, 2011 6:09 PM

Major winter storm moving into Arizona tomorrow

TUCSON - Here is the latest on this week's winter storm from News 4 Meteorologist Jeff Beamish...

Advisories: A Winter Storm Watch has been issued for all mountain locations above 6,500 feet in southeastern Arizona. This Winter Storm Watch will be in effect Monday afternoon through late Tuesday night. Locations under the Winter Storm Watch include Mt. Lemmon, Mt. Graham, Hannagan Meadow, the Huachuca, Mule & Chiricahua Mountains.

Timing: Currently, a cold front is parked just off the southern California coast. This front will move into southern Arizona by Monday, setting off gusty winds, widespread showers and mountain snow. Expect rain/mountain snow to taper off by Wednesday morning, as the cold front exits the state.

How much rain/mountain snow: Between Monday afternoon & Wednesday morning, 0.75-1.00" valley rainfall is possible for Tucson and southern Arizona. Rain should change over to snow around 6,000 feet, with accumulating snow above 7,000 feet. Highest snowfall totals will be in the White Mountains of Graham & Greenlee Counties, Mt. Graham and the Chiricahua Mountains, with 17-24" snow possible. Mt. Lemmon, the Huachuca & Santa Rita Mountains could see 10-15" snow by Wednesday morning.

Why so much rain/mountain snow?: A plume of tropical moisture originating near Hawaii is interacting with this cold front, leading to inflated rain & snow totals. Because of the tropical influence, temperatures will not be as cold as they were last week. Daytime highs Monday through Wednesday should be in the upper 50's to low 60's in Tucson, with overnight lows near 40 degrees.

Stay with News 4 Tucson & for the latest winter weather updates. Jeff will have the very latest on this winter storm tonight on News 4 Tucson at 10.


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