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The Latest: Snowy Grand Canyon town declares emergency

November 30, 2019

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) — The Latest on wintry weather in Arizona (all times local):

5 p.m.

A town just outside Grand Canyon National Park has declared an emergency because of power outages and severe weather.

Coconino County officials said Friday that Tusayan, Arizona has substantial snow and lost power at 3 a.m.

The Red Cross set up a shelter inside the national park and is offering a shuttle.

Grand Canyon National Park officials said on Twitter the South Rim was hit with blowing snow and hazardous driving conditions. Shelters were setup for park visitors who couldn’t leave.

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12:10 p.m.

The Arizona Department of Transportation says it is reopening portions of two interstate highways that were closed since late Thursday night due to snow.

The department said Friday that northbound Interstate 17 has reopened north of the Sedona turnoff south of Flagstaff and that Interstate 40 is being reopened in east and west of Flagstaff.

Several other highway closures in northern and eastern Arizona also have been lifted.

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10:40 a.m.

A stretch of another major east-west highway in Arizona is closed due to a storm dropping snow in high country in eastern and northern parts of the state.

The state Department of Transportation said Friday that U.S. 60 is closed for 88 miles (142 kilometers) between Globe and Show Low in eastern Arizona.

The state began closing highways Thursday night and they include parts of Interstates 17 and 40 in northern Arizona.

Some people have posted on social media to question whether all the closures are necessary, particularly for vehicles with four-wheel drive or chains.

The department replied to one post on Twitter about one closure by saying experienced personnel determined that the highway wasn’t safe for driving.

The agency also said its plows are out working to reopen the highways as soon as possible.

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8:05 a.m.

Heavy snow is falling in northern Arizona’s high country where stretches of two interstates and other highways are closed due to travel conditions described by forecasters as “difficult to impossible.”

The National Weather Service said at 6:15 a.m. Friday that up to 4 inches (10 centimeters) fell in the previous hour at Bellemont west of Flagstaff and that there were 9 inches (23 centimeters) on the ground.

Forecasters say Flagstaff is expected to get a total of 18 inches (46 centimeters) of snow between early Thursday morning and midnight.

The Arizona Department of Transportation says partial highway closures that began Thursday night include Interstate 40 in both directions for 180 miles (290 kilometers) between U.S. 93 and Winslow and northbound Interstate 17 for the 40 miles (64 kilometers) south of Flagstaff.

Snow plows are working and travel conditions are expected to improve Saturday morning.

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6:15 a.m.

Portions of two interstates and several highways are closed in northern Arizona’s high country because of snowfall.

The Arizona Department of Transportation said Interstate 40 was closed late Thursday in both directions for 180 miles (290 kilometers) between U.S. 93 and Winslow and that northbound Interstate 17 is closed for 40 miles (64 kilometers) south of Flagstaff.

State Routes 66, 89, 89A and 260 also had partial closures.

The department said Friday it didn’t know when the closures will end and advised travelers to wait out the storm.

The National Weather Service reported 3 inches (8 centimeters) of new snow at the Flagstaff airport and said “it’s coming down hard.”

Meanwhile, Phoenix was getting heavy rain. Flash flood warnings were issued for outlying areas, including New River, Cave Creek and Carefree.

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This story has been corrected to reflect that the closures began late Thursday.