A look back at Arizona’s epic winter storm of 2019

Snow blankets the rugged landscape of Sedona, AZ
Epic snowfall in February 2019 transformed Sedona, AZ into “Snowdona”. Photo by Jim St. Leger.

What do you call a winter storm that not only defies all expectations but also breaks numerous records and gives hope to the end of a 19-year drought. The only word that comes to mind for me is “epic”.

Arizona was already on track for an above average winter in the precipitation department when a massive storm swept in on Wednesday, February 20 and hovered over the state, dumping record rain and snowfall for nearly three days.

snow on and around bronze statue in Flagstaff, AZ
Photo by Peter Corbett, ontheroadarizona.com

Editors note: I was out of state during this epic storm, so I had to rely on social media for most of my information. For that reason, I’m sharing more content from others than usual.

This montage put together by AZ Central pretty much sums up the experience with pictures sent in by viewers from around the state:

Epic rainfall

For much of the state, including Phoenix and nearby cities in the Valley of the Sun, the story was rain. It went on for days soaking the landscapes, filling washes and flooding some streets.

The tweet below from the Phoenix office of the National Weather Service provides a real-time snapshot of the rain situation around the Valley on the morning of February 22, 2019.

Epic snow

Snow was the headline. Most winters in Arizona, you have to drive up to Flagstaff or the Mogollon Rim to see snow. Not so in 2019. Snow-capped peaks were visible from many of the flatter parts of the state. Check out the impressive snow related posts below.

snowy scene in Flagstaff, AZ
Photo by Peter Corbett, ontheroadarizona.com

In Flagstaff, they created a new unit of measure for snowfall. The three-day total ending Feb. 22 was six corgies. Or was it seven?

Epic road closures

Road closure notifications were coming in from all around the state. This list of road closures on February 22, 2019 from the Arizona Department of Transportation tells the story pretty well:

Epic cold temperatures

Epic pics and stats

So many amazing images, so little time. In addition to the pics I’ve shared in this post, I created a catalog of many of the favorites I saw in a Twitter “moment”.  You can view them below.

snowy scene at Macy's coffee shop in Flagstaff, AZ
Snow piles up in front of Macy’s coffee shop in Flagtsaff. Photo by Peter Corbett, ontheroadarizona.com

Could the epic winter of 2018-19 mean an end to Arizona’s drought?

It’s fair to start talking about – maybe even hoping and dreaming that – the plentiful moisture Arizona received in the winter of 2018-19 bringing an end to the nearly 20-year drought.

There has been some criticism in recent years about overuse of the word “epic.” If my use of it for this post upsets you, I’m sorry. If you’ve scanned through all the images and stats above and don’t agree that the February 2019 winter storm that changed the landscape of Arizona was epic, then there’s probably not much we would agree upon.

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3 Comments

  1. In 79 I moved to Flagstaff for a year. When I first moved in there was 5 feet of snow on the ground. I can remember snow in Tucson, too.

    Nice to see the photos of so much snow again. Thanks.

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