Image: National snow depth map from the National Operational Hydrologic Remote Sensing Center
The U.S. National Weather Service (NWS) issued a Winter Storm Warning for nine western states for February 7 through 9 for heavy snow, high winds, and cold temperatures, reported Newsweek.
The NWS said snow totals in some areas of Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming, could top 24 inches in a single day and more over the course of the storm.
“More than 20 inches of snow is expected in parts of northern and central Arizona, with periods of intense snowfall of up to two inches an hour and winds of up to 45 miles an hour creating blowing snow and reducing visibility,” wrote Newsweek. This would be on top of the more than two feet of snow that the Associated Press reported had already fallen across parts of the state on February 8:
The mountainous region of northern Arizona recorded 2 feet (61 centimeters) of snowfall or more in some locations with more expected into the weekend. Snow, ice and whiteout conditions forced partial closures of Interstates 40 and 17 in and around Flagstaff, northern Arizona’s largest city. I-17 later reopened but portions of I-40 remained closed Thursday night.
The NWS said mountainous regions of Utah could expect up to 20 inches of additional snow, on top of an estimated four feet of snow which had fallen on Wednesday February 7.
On top of the severe rainfall that had already flooded parts of southern California earlier in the week, the NWS said mountains in San Bernardino County and Riverside County could expect as much as two feet of snow, in addition to what had fallen earlier in the week.
The NWS said snowfall in parts of Nevada could top 16 inches. By Thursday, February 8, the winter storm had already dumped 16 inches of snow in New Mexico with another 10 inches of snow predicted for Friday with winds gusting above 45 miles per hour (mph). In Colorado, where winds were whipping at more than 50 mph, the snow totals were expected to reach even higher totals of 32 inches across two days. Conditions in Wyoming were no safer, with wind speeds of 50 miles per hour and 40 inches of snow across three days.