FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. - A group of Australian athletes was surprised to wake up to snow Tuesday morning while training in Northern Arizona.
Paralympic runner, Deon Kenzie, said it was “fantastic.”
Olympic runner, Madeline Hills, called it “fresh.”
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The two were part of a group taking advantage of Flagstaff’s high elevation to excel in their sport, but with higher altitude came freezing temperatures.
Tuesday morning, some areas saw rain, others a light dusting of snow and at the National Weather Service office in Bellemont, nearly an inch of snow fell.
“A few hundred feet lower in elevation was making the difference between rain and snow,” the Science and Operations Officer Andrew Taylor said.
Taylor said a system like this one wasn’t out of the ordinary and spring storms like it helped with the upcoming fire season.
“They don’t necessarily cancel out our fire season, but they help to delay it a little bit,” Taylor said.
Regardless of how common it may be for Northern Arizona, the training Aussies weren’t expecting this kind of weather, but they didn’t mind it.
“Waking up to snow was pretty cool,” Olympic hopeful Reilly Shaw said.
Shaw said it helped them train for the unexpected.
“It makes the session a lot harder today and everyone has modified what they’ve done, but yet it makes it challenging. There’s different obstacles to face,” Shaw said.
I decided to test how well they were doing by challenging them to a sprint; Hills and Kenzie took me up on it and it turned out they were pretty fast.
The NWS Flagstaff office said the 96 inches of snow that had fallen up to this point in the season was higher snowfall than in the several past water years, but still just below the average of 100 inches.
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