The Main Stream

Dec 13, 2012 12:17 PM by John Patrick

First winter storm moving in

TUCSON - An advancing cold front will bring the first rain and snow to Southern Arizona in about a month.

A strong low pressure system currently in Southern California is heading our way for some big time changes to the dry Southern Arizona weather, according to Meteorologist John Patrick. We'll start with strong gusty winds ahead of a cold front this afternoon followed by valley rain and mountain snow late this evening into Friday.

Tucson could see wind gusts this afternoon above 30mph with the strongest winds expected in Cochise County. A Wind Advisory has been posted for Cochise County from 8pm to 2am where gusts could reach 50mph in the valley locations and 60mph in the mountains.

A Winter Storm Warning remains in effect for the mountain ranges north of I-10 from 11pm tonight until 5pm Friday. Heavy snow is possible with accumulations between 6-11 inches from 5000-7000 feet. 12-18 inches of snow is expected above 7000 feet with the highest peaks of Mt. Lemmon and Mt. Graham seeing 24 inches.

A Winter Weather Advisory goes into effect from 11pm this evening until 5pm Friday for mountain ranges south of I-10. Snow accumulation of 3-5 inches between 5000-7000 feet and 6-10 inches above 7000 feet. Higher amounts possible on the highest peaks of the Santa Rita, Chiricahua and Huachuca mountains.

Valley locations could start to see some showers take off early this evening with the main rain event occurring after 10pm this evening. Rain amounts should vary between 0.25-0.75" with isolated areas picking up 1.00" through tomorrow. Showers start to taper off from the west to east starting Friday afternoon.

Another system moves in to kick off the weekend bringing another chance of valley rain and mountain snow mainly through Saturday afternoon. Rain and snow amounts with this impulse look much lighter than the system moving in tonight.

Things start to clear up and dry out to wrap the weekend with mostly sunny skies by Sunday. However, cool air sticks around through the weekend with daytime highs remaining in the 50s for Tucson.

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