A snowy start to the New Year for entire region

A photo taken from Round Mountain Park in Globe show the entrance to the park from the East Trail early in the morning hours of Jan. 1, 2019. While measurable snowfall in the region is not unusual, it generally happens “every few years,” according to a representative from the National Weather Service. Photos by David Abbott.

While not in time for a white Christmas, the Globe-Miami-San Carlos area was blanketed in snow to start the new year.

Marvin A. Percha, Jr., with the National Weather Service (NWS) in Phoenix, said the Globe area saw two to four inches of snow, while one to three inches fell in the Miami area.

“Surrounding high-elevation areas — 4,000 to 7,000 feet — saw eight to 12 inches,” he said.

According to a weather log Percha provided to the Silver Belt, as of 8:49 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 31, 1.3 inches of snow was reported one mile east of Miami.

Members of the public reported “continuous light to moderate snow” from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., the weather log stated.

At 9:15 a.m. Tuesday, Jan. 1, a trained NWS spotter reported an estimated nine inches of snow three or four miles north of Globe, at an elevation of nearly 4,300 feet.

Then, by about 12:30 p.m., about four miles southeast of Globe, a trained NWS spotter reported a total four inches of snow from the storm.

As of 8 p.m. the same day, an NWS co-op observer measured 2.5 inches of snow about one mile west/northwest of Globe.

As for other areas, Percha said, “It appears that the Superior area did not see any accumulating snowfall. We did not get any reports from the San Carlos area.”

Apparently, however, there was enough snow to cause problems along Highway 70, between Bylas and San Carlos, as of Tuesday, Jan. 2.

In a Facebook post that morning, Tribal Chairman Terry Rambler said that after several accidents occurred due to the snow, the highway would be closed until Chief of Police Alejandro Benally gave the okay for it to re-open.

“Two semis that lost control are blocking the highway,” and the Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) was on its way with a snow plow, Rambler said at the time.

Citing the emergency situation, Rambler said he would give administrative leave to those who couldn’t make it to work because of the snow.

At mid-morning Jan. 2, the Globe Police Department posted that there were no road closures between Globe and Superior.

Earlier in the day, ADOT posted that it was working to clear roads on State Route 260 east of Payson, I-10 between Benson and the state line and State Route 90 near Sierra Vista, as well as other areas of the state.

“It’s another winter wonderland in parts of the state,” ADOT’s Jan. 2 post stated. “Unfortunately, that also means a lot of slick and icy roads.”

The roads were not the only problem during the snowstorm, as power outages occurred in the area Monday, Jan. 1.

At about Noon that day, Rep. David Cook, R-Globe, posted on his Facebook page that he had contacted APS regarding area power outages.

The utility company stated that power in both Gila and Pinal Counties would be back on by 4:30 p.m. that day, he said in his post.

APS Communications Consultant Anne DeGraw said that there had been a Jan. 1 power outage affecting 213 of its customers in Globe, “due to snow and ice on the power lines.”

“The power went out at 1:26 p.m. and was restored at 4:10 p.m.,” she told the Silver Belt.

Asked if the area’s snowstorm was unusual, Percha replied that while “measurable snowfall occurs in the Globe area every few years,” most years there is no measurable snowfall.

“So, this event was fairly unusual, but definitely not unprecedented,” he said.

Percha provided the Silver Belt with a monthly climate summary for the period from Aug. 1, 1975 to Dec. 31, 2008.

For the month of December, it shows an average total snowfall of 0.3 inches, with the average total precipitation at 1.29 inches.

The average maximum temperature was 57.8 degrees Fahrenheit, while 32.6 was the average minimum temperature in December.

As for the month of January during the period, the average total snowfall was 0.7 inches, with the average total precipitation at 2.00.

The average maximum temperature was 57.3 degrees Fahrenheit, and the average minimum temperature was 34.1.

The NWS chart shows the average annual snowfall as 2.3 inches from Aug. 1, 1975 to Dec. 31, 2008.

 The flag at the top of Round Mountain on New Year's Day 2019.

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