Following record snowfall, people in Northern Arizona digging out the snow
FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP/FOX 10) - A winter storm sweeping across the Southwest has set records in Arizona with heavy snowfall in the high country and significant rain in the desert.
Flagstaff on Thursday had a new single-day snowfall record of 35.9 inches at the airport, breaking the city's previous mark of 31.0 inches set in 1915.
Phoenix on Thursday set a new record for the day with 1.01 inch of rain, eclipsing the old mark of 0.73 inch set in 1973.
Some outlying areas in higher elevations of the northern outskirts of metro Phoenix had light snowfall, which National Weather Service meteorologist Andrew Deemer said Friday is not uncommon.
The snow began late Wednesday and didn't let up Thursday, falling at 3 to 4 inches an hour in parts of Arizona. The National Weather Service said that rate will fall by about half Friday. Officials will turn their concerns to local streets that didn't get plowed, overburdened roofs and freezing temperatures expected into the weekend.
>>LIST: School closures, delays for northern Arizona during winter storm
Several roads across Arizona, including portions of Interstate 40 west of Kingman and northbound Interstate 17 from Camp Verde to Flagstaff, were closed. The Arizona Department of Public Safety said no one died or was seriously injured in the more than 250 calls it handled in the northern portion of the state.
The cities of Flagstaff and Prescott, and Coconino County declared emergencies. Officials said snow plows struggled to keep routes clear and there was "significant concern" about the weight on rooftops.
The roads were eerily quiet throughout the day and the storm essentially shut down towns across the region. Payson, about 90 miles northeast of Phoenix, gets an average annual snowfall of about 2 feet. It hit that amount Thursday, closing roads in and out of town and leaving travelers stranded.
Paul Moss and other drivers were chatting about the latest road conditions at a travel center west of Flagstaff on Thursday, where semi-trailers were stuck waiting to fuel up. Moss said he could drive in the snow but prefers not to do so.
AP writers Ken Ritter, Michelle Price and Regina Garcia Cano in Las Vegas; Terry Tang, Paul Davenport and Astrid Galvan in Phoenix; and Christopher Weber and John Antczak in Los Angeles contributed to this report.