VERDE VALLEY -- Heavy snow on Thursday and Friday caused closures and power outages Friday morning.
The I-17 northbound has reopened between State Route 179 and Flagstaff, according to the Arizona Department of Transportation.
According to Arizona Public Service, most power has been restored in Cottonwood.
The outage knocked out street lights at Mingus Avenue and Main Street early Friday morning. APS estimates 2,600 customers were impacted.
In Clarkdale, 1,268 customers are impacted with outages from Siesta Street to Groseta Ranch Road and Cement Plant Private Road to State Route 89A. Power is expected to return at 1:41 p.m.
CAT services in Cottonwood are canceled for the remainder of the day Friday.
“We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause, but our concern is for our passenger safety and that of our drivers,” a city news release states. “At this time, we are not certain as to opening on Saturday for the Verde Lynx.”
School districts in the Verde Valley had their first snow days of the year. Likewise, municipal offices throughout the region are closed.
Snow escorts are being provided by the Yavapai County Sheriff's Office but are limited to emergencies.
"This is not a general taxi-service and calls requesting assistance will be screened under the limitations indicated. The Sheriff’s Office appreciates everyone’s understanding as these volunteer resources are already spread thin," said Yavapai County Sheriff's Office spokesman Dwight D'Evelyn.
"If you have any type of urgent situation involving the need to transport someone who otherwise is unable to access transportation due to the weather, call your respective law enforcement agency to determine the best course of action," he said. "If it is an emergency, call 911. For county areas, rescue teams are only dispatched with approval from the Sheriff’s Office."
Again, we appreciate your understanding.
The National Weather Service provided these recent snow inch reports:
• Cottonwood – 5 inches
• Sedona – 8-13 inches
• Clarkdale – 9 inches
• Lake Montezuma – 3.5 inches
• Camp Verde – 2 inches
While this amount of snow is rare in the region, it’s not unheard of. According to Verde Independent historical files, in December 1967, some residents woke up to the biggest snowstorm in Arizona history. Jerome received 41 inches officially with five-foot drifts everywhere. Many were double that height. Sedona that year had a snow depth of 23.8 inches.
• City of Cottonwood administrative offices
• Town of Clarkdale administrative offices
• Tuzigoot River Access Point at 25 E. Tuzigoot Rd.
• Mingus Union High School District
• Cottonwood-Oak Creek School District
• Clarkdale-Jerome School District
• Sedona-Oak Creek School District
•Yavapai College (All classes canceled throughout Yavapai County)
NWS forecasts clear skies and temperatures in 50s for the rest of this weekend and next week.
February was a month of intense flooding along the Verde River in addition to the heavy snowfall this week.
Local river expert John Parsons (aka Mr. Verde River) said because there is no "rain-on-snow" forecast this week, additional flooding isn't likely.
"Next week's high temperatures in the 50s and possibly 60s will bring down the low elevation snow and at least some of the mid-elevation snow," he stated in a public Facebook post. "Freezing overnight low temperatures will keep the high-elevation snow intact."
Parsons said the river water levels and its tributaries depend on the rate of melt of the low and mid-elevation snow.
"Odds are pretty good that the snow will come off in an orderly, polite and civil manner with no problems," he said.
However, there are some historical precedents that say otherwise, according to Parsons.
"If it comes off faster than expected, high water is likely," he said. "Will that that high water translate to flood levels? Probably not."