The Latest: Storm closes eastbound I-40 in Arizona

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) — The Latest on Arizona weather (all times local):

10:55 a.m.

Eastbound Interstate 40 has been closed in northwestern Arizona because of a storm dumping heavy snow across much of the state’s high country.

The Arizona Department of Transportation said Thursday that all eastbound traffic on I-40 in northwestern Arizona should head south on State Route 95 to use Interstate 10.

Portions of some other non-interstate highways in northern Arizona also are closed because of weather conditions.

Traffic on Interstate 17 south of Flagstaff has been described as slowing to a crawl.

10:15 a.m.

State transportation officials say Interstates 40 and 17 in northern Arizona remained open Thursday morning but that a winter storm dumping heavy snow on the region was “really bringing traffic to a crawl” on the two highways.

The National Weather Service said snow was falling at the rate of up to 4 inches (10 centimeters) per hour late Thursday morning south of Flagstaff where there were reports of over 1 foot (0.3 meter) of snow.

The state Department of Transportation advised people to avoid travel and said drivers traveling eastbound on I-40 in eastern California or western Arizona should head south to take Interstate 10 to avoid closures, delays and extreme winter weather.

The department also said people who must travel need to be prepared to spend extra time in their vehicles and have a fully charted cellphone, full tank of gas, extra clothes as well as food and water.

7 a.m.

Schools are closed in cities across northern Arizona’s high country due to heavy snowfall from a storm that the National Weather Service warned Thursday “is just getting started.”

The weather service reported 6 inches (15 centimeters) of snow in Flagstaff by 6 a.m. and forecasts called for about 2 feet (0.6 meter) of snow in Flagstaff, Prescott, Show Low, Kingman and Payson through Saturday night.

The Arizona Department reported Interstate 40 and U.S. 93 closures at locations near Kingman due to snow and ice, and the department recommended avoiding travel in the region, saying “this is not your typical storm.”

Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff remained open Thursday but public schools were closed in Flagstaff, Prescott, Prescott Valley, Payson and Show Low.

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