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Updated Mar 8, 2013 - 1:08 pm

Phoenix's springlike weather to take weekend break

(AP Photo)

PHOENIX -- The National Weather Service said the Valley will receive a little rain and maybe thunder and lightning this weekend.

A Friday storm that started overnight is expected to bring about one-quarter to a half-inch of rainfall to the Valley, along with a big drop in temperature to the mid-60s. Showers will linger Saturday but clear up by Sunday.

The good news is it should be the last cold storm of the Arizona winter, said Jessica Nolte with the weather bureau.

The heaviest rains -- with a little thunder and lightning as well -- should hit during both rush-hour commutes.

"The Friday commute from 4-9 in the morning is when we will see the first round of rainfall," Nolte said, adding there's a 50-50 chance of rain in the afternoon and evening.

The storm is going to unload on the high country with "4-10 inches above 6,000 feet. Even higher amounts above 7,000 feet with 8-14 inches of snow," Nolte said. The snow started falling early Friday.

Friday around 10 a.m. the Arizona Department of Transportation closed westbound State Route 260 at milepost 302 near Heber because of multiple slide-offs and winter conditions.

Officials cleared the road and at 1 p.m. the road was reopened.

Locations expected to get heavy snowfall include Flagstaff, the White Mountains, the Kaibab Plateau and areas along the Mogollon Rim.

Chains or four-wheel drive is required on northbound State Route 87 between Payson and Clints Well. Chains are recommended for southbound travelers, too.

The Arizona Department of Public Safety says motorists should avoid travel if possible or be prepared for slick roads and limited visibility.

Sky Harbor has recorded 1.70 inches of rainfall for the year. The average for this time of year is 2.06 inches.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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About the Author


Position: Senior News Reporter. Started with KTAR July 4, 1999.

Favorite spots in Arizona: Pinetop-Lakeside, Alpine, Greer.

Have covered some of the biggest stories in Arizona including nine of the top 10 largest wildfires in state history. The Wallow Fire in 2011 became the largest fire in state history. Rodeo-Chediski Fire in June 2002, which is the second largest fire in Arizona. Covered the Yarnell Hill Tragedy in June 2013 that left 19 Granite Mountain Hotshots dead.

Favorite movies: True Grit, both 1969 John Wayne classic and the remake with Jeff Bridges and Lonesome Dove.

Sports Teams: Washington State University Cougars, Texas Longhorns, The University of Montana Grizzlies.

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