'Extensive' storm system promises a wet Wednesday - East Valley Tribune: Weather

'Extensive' storm system promises a wet Wednesday

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Posted: Wednesday, December 22, 2010 11:30 am | Updated: 3:22 pm, Wed Dec 22, 2010.

It’s not a matter of if it will rain, it’s a matter of when.

The forecast calls for a 90 percent chance of rain Wednesday and Wednesday night, according to the National Weather Service. The storm system moving in has already caused flooding in northern Arizona and record rainfall in Southern California.

“The system is pretty extensive. The radar right now is showing a pretty good area of precipitation mainly along and west of the Colorado River, but that is slowly progressing to the east,” said Phoenix meteorologist Michael McLane of the National Weather Service. “Throughout the day we’re looking for heavier precipitation in the metropolitan area by later this afternoon and into the evening.”

Parts of the Valley will see up to 3/4 inch of rain, with a flash-flood watch in effect for northern parts of Maricopa County and southern Gila County, he said.

“Be on the lookout for water, especially in low-lying areas, areas that are normally flood-prone,” he said. Normally dry washes will be flowing with rainwater, he said.

McLane said he believes the last time there was a 90 percent chance of rain in the area was during the big storm of January 2010.

Lingering showers will remain over the higher areas Thursday, but the Valley should see clear, drying skies by mid-day. Christmas Eve and Christmas Day should be sunny, with highs in the mid-60s to low-70s.

If you want to see snow in Arizona, this weekend is the time: McLane said northern Arizona is expecting snow Wednesday. Another storm may move into the higher areas of the state late Sunday or early Monday and bring additional snowfall.

Arizona Snowbowl outside Flagstaff reports it received 8 to 12 inches of snow in the last 24 hours. With the new storm moving it, the ski resort hopes to announce an opening date soon, according to the website.

Sunrise Park Resort in the White Mountains is also awaiting more snow to open, according to the website, though it is making snow.

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