Flagstaff power outages; I-17 near Lake Montezuma, SR-89A in Sedona reopened

Winter Storm Warning in effect for parts of Coconino County
Hundreds were still reported without power, as of 2 p.m. on Wednesday afternoon.
Hundreds were still reported without power, as of 2 p.m. on Wednesday afternoon.(ADOT)
Published: Dec. 28, 2022 at 7:15 AM PST|Updated: Dec. 28, 2022 at 3:30 PM PST
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FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (3TV/CBS 5) — Two major freeways in northern Arizona are closed as a major winter storm hits the High Country, leaving hundreds without power.

Around 2 p.m. on Wednesday, APS reported around 690 customers were without power in Flagstaff, with around 40 customers in the Tusayan area were without power. These numbers come after more than 4,280 customers were without power early Wednesday morning due to what officials were calling an “unknown interference” hitting a major power line. While no specifics have been released, much of the area has been experiencing severe weather, with downed lines and equipment damage across several counties.

As of 4:25 p.m., APS reports that 96 customers are without power in Flagstaff.

On The Roads

ADOT reported around 9:30 a.m. that traffic along SR-89A was stopped in both directions north of Sedona as a 15-mile stretch heavily covered in rocks and debris. A few minutes later, Interstate 17 was closed in the northbound direction, just a few miles north of Camp Verde. All lanes for SR-89A and I-17 have reopened as of 3:16 p.m.

A blast of frigid, arctic air hit much of the state overnight, placing parts of Coconino County under a winter storm warning through Wednesday night. The National Weather Service reported About a half-foot of snow fell at the Flagstaff airport by 5 a.m. Meanwhile, heavy snow is expected to continue throughout the day, particularly in communities above 6,500 feet, Arizona’s Family First Alert Meteorologist April Warneke forecasted.

“If you must be on the roads this morning, allow plenty of extra travel time. Take it slow, and allow lots of extra space to stop,” the NWS tweeted. As of 8 a.m., a stalled semi was causing a major backup on I-17 at Stoneman Lake Road. Significant slowdowns were reported from Williams into Flagstaff on I-40.

Up in the mountains? A lot more snow. Arizona Snowbowl reported receiving 13 inches of snow in a single night, with the resort expecting another two feet in the coming days. Five to eight inches were reported by 8 a.m. at Jacob Lakes, a small community about 80 miles west of Page.

Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) crews asked those living in the High Country to prepare for wet or icy highways as the storms hit into the New Year weekend. Significant delays are possible along I-40 and I-17, where slick roads can create dangerous driving conditions. In some cases, strong gusty winds can cause semi-trucks to be blown off the highway or even roll over at high speeds.

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