PUBLISHED: 08:58 EST, 19 March 2012 | UPDATED: 09:22 EST, 19 March 2012
While many throughout the U.S. enjoy unseasonably warm weather, Arizona got hit with a unusually late winter storm blanketing the south western state with snow.
The city of Flagstaff was covered in 10 to 14 inches of snow by Sunday morning, causing problematic travel conditions and numerous road closures.
The only ones presumably excited about the late snow were avid skiers, who were greeted with a total of 12 to 18 inches of fresh snow that had accumulated overnight at the Flagstaff Nordic Center.
Unseasonably late: The city of Flagstaff was covered in 10 to 14 inches of snow by Sunday morning, causing problematic travel conditions and numerous road closures
Left in the cold: While many throughout the U.S. enjoy unseasonably warm weather, much of Arizona- including Flagstaff (pictured) got hit with a unusually late winter storm blanketing the south western state with snow
Interstate 40 in the northern part of the state was closed Sunday until further notice as Arizona highway patrol dealt with the unexpected blast of winter weather.
The National Weather Service considered the conditions so severe that they issued a winter storm warning to all of Arizona and northern New Mexico through midnight Monday night.
‘It’s a pretty large and sprawling system,’ said Frank Strait, a meteorologist with AccuWeather.com told The Associated Press.
‘I’ve seen reports of over two feet of snow in the Sierra and I’m sure we’ll hear similar reports from the Colorado Rockies, the Wasatch in Utah and areas in northern Arizona.’
During the storm’s peak Sunday afternoon, electric company PNM reported 33,000 were out of power in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
By 9pm on Sunday, that number had dropped down to 4,500 people who remained without power.
Cold climate: Northern Arizona and New Mexico, along with Utah and Colorado, are going to be hit with the brunt of the storm
Strong winds caused problems for some, as portions of Interstate 10 in southern New Mexico were closed early in the day Sunday but reopened once visibility had improved.
The poor weather conditions also caused the men’s basketball team from the University of New Mexico to wait in New York as their return flight from their unsuccessful NCAA bid was delayed.
Given the particularly mild winter, and the late date, Sunday’s snowfall was very unusual for the year.
Even as late as last week, Arizona residents were teased with the prospect of warm weather as they had a number of days where it reached the 60s. Their last snow was on March 7.
By contrast, weatherman Pat Kiernan reported that New York City had only had 4.5 inches of snow this year, which was significantly less than the 61 inches the City was hit with during the 2010-2011 winter.
Strong winds caused problems for some, as portions of Interstate 10 in southern New Mexico and Arizona- like in Flagstaff- were closed early in the day Sunday but reopened once visibility had improved
Complicated commute: Both the local roads in Flagstaff (pictured) and Interstate 40 in the northern part of the state dealt with icy conditions as a result of the snow