Flagstaff digs itself out of record-breaking snow as a new storm approaches

By Michel Marizco
Published: Thursday, January 26, 2023 - 1:58pm
Updated: Friday, January 27, 2023 - 8:01am

Michel Marizco/KJZZ
Snow berms, essentially walls of frozen snow, create a maze for drivers and pedestrians to navigate after last week's storms.

The city of Flagstaff registered a record-breaking five-plus feet of snow this month, and it’s not over yet with freezing temperatures sticking around and another storm expected early next week. 

It snowed so much last week Flagstaff residents were asked to stay off the roads. Police reported 31 car accidents and another 14 stuck vehicles. Schools were canceled four days last week. Highways were closed all the way to the Grand Canyon. National monuments closed early.

Then it all began to melt. The roof of a local grocery store partially collapsed forcing evacuations Wednesday afternoon. Smaller streets are slick with frozen runoff. Armando Shorman wended his way through chest high berms of frozen snow pushed off the streets by municipal plows.

"It’s slippery, it’s cold," he said.

County and city crews are still working to catch up.

Carlos Gudino
Michel Marizco/KJZZ
Carlos Gudino stands by his snow plow he uses to clear the public school lots.

Carlos Gudino plows the public school lots.

"It’s a 50-50 when winter’s here. You don’t know what to expect. It can either snow very little or it can dump on you. And it dumped hard on us," he said.

Flagstaff is three inches away from breaking its second snowiest January on record, a benchmark reached in 1980. More snow is expected the last two days of the month.

For those keeping track, the highest distinction was 104.8 inches, a feat reached in 1949.

Michel Marizco/KJZZ
A frozen icicle hangs off a building on Flagstaff's Fourth Street.