Driving Conditions Flagstaff Blizzard|Stock Photo

The Arizona Department of Transportation warns that a major winter storm may create adverse driving conditions in Arizona’s high country while dumping heavy rain in other parts of the state from Wednesday evening into Friday.

A major winter storm is set to hit Arizona’s high country during the Thanksgiving holiday. A National Weather Service forecast warns that areas above 5,500 – 6,000 feet may see 1 to 2 feet of snow, and an accumulation of 2-10 inches of accumulation between 4000-5,500 feet. Heavy rain is also expected in other parts of the state from Wednesday evening into Friday.

The Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) and the National Weather Service are warning holiday travelers these storms can create “difficult to impossible” driving conditions.

“Drivers should heed this warning by leaving prepared, slowing down, and being ready to put off travel while snow is falling,” said an ADOT press release.

ADOT officials said that during heavy snowfall, stretches of Interstate 17 and Interstate 40 at higher altitudes can close due to poor conditions, slide-offs, and crashes.

“Drivers who decide against delaying travel when conditions worsen should be prepared to spend more time on the roads than usual and, in case they become stranded, pack an emergency kit with items like extra blankets, warm clothes, food and water, sand or cat litter for traction, a first-aid kit, and a fully charged cellphone,” officials said.

ADOT also noted that there are 200 snowplows ready to clear snow and ice around the state.

“The Arizona Department of Transportation’s first priority during major storms is maintaining travel on the most heavily traveled corridors, meaning it may take some time for plows to address lesser-used highways,” said ADOT officials.

For the state’s lower elevations, ADOT said drivers should prepare for rain and wet roadways while the storm is moving through.

Drivers should:

  • allow extra braking distance behind vehicles;
  • check the condition of windshield wipers; and
  • avoid flooded washes and low-lying areas where standing water has built up on the roadway.

ADOT also encourages travelers to check weather reports and get the latest highway conditions by visiting ADOT’s Arizona Traveler Information site at az511.gov, calling 511, or reviewing ADOT’s Twitter feed .

Arizonans can also download ADOT’s free app for freeway closures or other major traffic event alerts.

For more winter-driving tips from ADOT, please visit azdot.gov/KnowSnow.