Winter storm to dump heavy snowfall, rain across Arizona

February 21, 2019
In this Monday, Feb. 18, 2019 photo, Nayeli Carbajal-Pettry, 10, and her brother Jando, 5, look at ice cubes they plan to flush down the toilet to try to guarantee a snow day amid a major storm in Flagstaff, Ariz. As part of children's wishful thinking, they typically flush ice cubes down toilets, wear pajamas inside out or place spoons throughout their homes before they go to sleep. A winter storm is expected to dump heavy snow in the region. (Jake Bacon/Arizona Daily Sun via AP)

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) — Schools across northern Arizona canceled classes and some government offices decided to close amid a winter storm that’s expected to dump heavy snow in the region.

The National Weather Service said the storm will be most powerful late Wednesday and into Thursday, bringing the most significant snowfall in years.

The closures include schools in Flagstaff, Page, Holbrook, Payson, Kingman and Williams, and on the Hopi reservation.

Government facilities, including visitor centers at national monuments and Motor Vehicle Division offices, also will shutter or delay the start of the work day.

The weather service and state transportation officials advised drivers to stay off roads during the storm.

“It would not be out of the question to say we could expect closures on major interstates throughout the day Thursday,” meteorologist Emily Thorton said.

Weather forecasters have called for up to 2 feet (0.6 meter) of snow in Flagstaff, Prescott, Alpine, the Grand Canyon’s North Rim and Show Low, and up to 2.5 feet (0.8 meter) in Payson.

Bisbee and Oracle in southeastern Arizona could see around a foot of snow.

The school cancellations were welcomed by many children who often turn to superstition to get a snow day off.

As part of their wishful thinking, they typically flush ice cubes down toilets, wear pajamas inside out or place spoons throughout their homes before they go to sleep.

The tactics vary in practice and in reason, but children told the Arizona Daily Sun they don’t want to leave anything to chance.

Some children use metal spoons instead of wooden ones. Some put a white crayon or an orange in the freezer, or don underwear as a nightcap. Scarlett Ellison, 10, says using small ice cubes in the toilet is important.

“We used daddy’s bourbon ice cubes once, but they are really big and got stuck in the toilet,” she said. “We use the right ones because we don’t’ want another plumbing issue.”

The central Arizona deserts are expected to get significant rain, accompanied by temperatures far colder than normal. Phoenix’s normal high around this time of the year is 72 degrees (22.2 Celsius) but it will drop to nearly 50 degrees (10 Celsius).

Daytime temperatures in many parts of northern Arizona will struggle to get above freezing before the weekend, Thorton said.

Flagstaff Unified School District said it takes many factors into account when declaring a snow day. But that didn’t stop children from whispering in classrooms and on playgrounds about how to make it happen.

Elise Thom, 9, plans to wear her pajamas inside out and backward because her sister told her it helps release the magic inside her.

Adelaide Hart, 9, intends to place a metal spoon under her pillow.

“Maybe it’s because when you put a tooth under your pillow you get money back,” she said. “So when you put a metal spoon under your pillow, you get a snow day back.”