FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. – On Tuesday, Flagstaff and Coconino County prepared for the first winter snowfall of the season.
The city and county public works departments prepared for people to drive in it, while others waited to play in it and businesses downtown were ready to sell because of it.
Local, Jonathan Kersten, said the snow shortage “has heavily affected Snowbowl and a lot of tourism.”
Manager at Aspen Sports, C.J. Agbannawag, said he was ready for the business snow brings.
“I've heard from friends in Phoenix that they're coming up here within the next 48 hours or so just to get that fresh snow and go skiing,” Agbannawag said.
Drive with caution, our big concern right now is that it's not going to be a lot of snow, but it's going to get very cold,” Andy Burleson, public works director, said.
“Our cinders are deployed primarily on hills and curves to basically provide that kind of traction. We do not use salt here at Coconino County,” Marc Della Rocca, community relations manager with Coconino County Public Works, said.
Snowplows battle icy roads with cinder here because ice melt hurts the environment, but so does a dry winter.
“I really believe that we need a lot of precipitation for not only the forest, but pretty much the entire ecosystem up here,” Kersten said.
But not everyone was excited for flakes to blanket downtown.
“I hate the snow,” Rico Sternberg said
Rico and Chris Sternberg were snowbirds who had just escaped the freeze in Canada.
“After we left it got really, really cold and so we're happy to be here. This is mild, balmy weather comparatively,” Chris Sternberg said.
Icy roads were expected to create dangerous driving situations overnight. Burleson and Della Rocca asked those who had to be on the road to take it slow.
Plow drivers asked others to keep a safe distance between themselves and their trucks and said that is usually 100 feet.
By about a quarter after 10 p.m. Tuesday, snowflakes had begun to cover the city streets. And by 5 a.m. Wednesday 4.7 inches of snow had fallen on Flagstaff -- the second latest measurable snowfall on record.