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The Latest: Schools cancel classes ahead of major storm

February 20, 2019

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) — The Latest on a winter storm in Arizona (all times local):

4:50 p.m.

Schools across northern Arizona are canceling classes as a major storm gets ready to hit the state.

The Thursday closures include schools in Flagstaff, Page, Holbrook, Payson, Kingman, Williams and on the Hopi reservation. Some of them also are closing Friday.

Forecasters say heavy snow will begin falling late in the region Wednesday night.

Higher elevations are expected to see up to 2 feet (0.6 meter) of snow with lesser amounts in lower elevations before the storm starts moving out Friday.

The National Weather Service says temperatures in northern Arizona will struggle to get above freezing through the weekend.

10:20 a.m.

Children in Flagstaff are turning to tradition ahead of a major winter storm to ensure school is closed the next day.

Before they go to sleep Wednesday, they’ll flush ice cubes down toilets, wear pajamas inside out and place spoons throughout their homes.

Ten-year-old Nayeli Carbajal-Pettry tells the Arizona Daily Sun the snow day preparations have never failed her.

The traditions vary in practice and in reason. Some children use metal spoons instead of wooden ones. Some put a white crayon in the freezer or an orange.

The Flagstaff Unified School District says it takes many factors into account when delaying or canceling school.

The National Weather Service is predicting heavy snow in northern Arizona and significant rain in central Arizona deserts through Friday.

7:20 a.m.

Winter storm warnings blanket northern Arizona as forecasters say a coming storm is expected to drop heavy snow in coming days and create “difficult to impossible travel conditions.”

The National Weather Service and state transportation officials urge drivers to delay travel during the storm, which will begin hitting the region late Wednesday night and continue through Friday afternoon.

Expected snowfall amounts include up to 2 feet (0.6 meter) in Flagstaff, Prescott and Show Low and up to 2.5 feet (0.8 meter in Payson.

The storm is also expected to produce significant rainfall in central Arizona deserts.

Forecasters say low temperatures during the storm will include a high near 50 degrees (10 Celsius) in Phoenix on Friday compared with a normal high of 72 degrees (22.22 Celsius).