Snow or Ice on Arizona Highways in mid-March

Feb 18th, 2012, 10:40 AM
  #1  
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Snow or Ice on Arizona Highways in mid-March

Should we expect icy conditions or the need for chains on any
of these roads in mid-March?

191 from Clifton to Springerville;
260 from Edgar to Show Low;
60 from Show Low to Globe;
188, 87, 260, 141, and 3 from Globe to Flagstaff;
89 from Flagstaff to Page
89 and 9 from Page to Springdale

HTTY
happytrailstoyou is offline  
Feb 18th, 2012, 10:55 AM
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I used to live in Pinetop, near Show Low. The elevation is high. If I remember correctly it snowed in March. The pass across the Salt River is steep and has switchbacks, so I think you'd be smart to prepare.

That sounds like a great trip. AZ is beautiful.
suewoo is offline  
Feb 18th, 2012, 01:50 PM
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We had to travel to a funeral many, many years ago and we ran into a good foot or more of fresh snow in March just above Flagstaff on Hwy 89 until we passed Camp Verde on our way to Phoenix. We were in a four wheel drive suburban with snow tires so we weren't worried. This was a good 25 years ago so there were no road controls at the time. I remember it was March because we were gone over my younger son's birthday, so it does happen this time of the year.

Utahtea
utahtea is offline  
Feb 18th, 2012, 04:46 PM
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Should we expect icy conditions or the need for chains on any
of these roads in mid-March?


Usually get 1-3 brief storms in March with enough moisture to drop snow at elevations down to say 5,000 ft, an altitude that covers most all of your routes (several are over 7,000 ft).

So figure anywhere from 2 - 9 days of snow in March, so anywhere from 5 - 30% chance it will snow any given day. It's been a dry winter thus far with below-average precipitation and high-country snow pack, so if that trend continues figure odds more in the 5-10% range.

Good thing about Arizona snow is that the storms are generally brief and fast-moving, followed by sunny skies, so the main roads are cleared and safe to drive within a day or so after the end of the storm. So if you can wait it out a day or so (ie don't have firm reservations somewhere) usually you'll be fine after a brief delay.

I wouldn't bother with chains ... chains are fine for a short drive over and down a steep high pass or for short drives around town but most of the roads you mention are at high elevation for long distances and it's not really feasible to drive on chains for long distances, I feel. If it snows hard they'll just shut down the roads (parts of I-17 and I-40 were shut down earlier this week, for example, and at least four times this winter thus far that I can recall), so you couldn't drive on them even if you had chains.
Bill_H is offline  
Mar 24th, 2012, 06:34 PM
  #5  
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We managed to drive all the roads when they were free of ice and snow. We stayed in Flagstaff on March 17--the day before the city and area was buried under two feet of snow. What luck.

HTTY
happytrailstoyou is offline  
Mar 24th, 2012, 07:26 PM
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"We stayed in Flagstaff on March 17--the day before the city and area was buried under two feet of snow. What luck."

HTTY, I posted on your other thread, wondering if you missed our ONE and ONLY March storm this year (but it was a fierce one), knowing you were there mid-month.

Glad you missed the bad roads (some people had to stay in Flagstaff two extra nights because the freeways were shut down), welcome back.
Bill_H is offline  
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