Meteorologists chuckle when they call it a "winter storm," but they say the weather today and Friday is about as close as Arizona gets to one.
The state’s "first winter storm" was blowing in from San Diego on Wednesday, said Leslie Wanek, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Phoenix.
Wanek said the north Valley would be hardest hit by rain; Cave Creek and Wickenburg could expect 1 to 2 inches. The East Valley should receive half an inch to an inch of rain today, Wanek said.
"This is different from rain we get over the summer," she said. "It’s not as spotty and will cover a wider area."
People attending the State Fair may want to bring their umbrellas, though fair spokeswoman Kristi Walsh said officials weren’t plan- ning on shutting anything down yet.
"Unless it’s an absolutely huge downpour, we’ll keep our attendance up," she said.
As the Valley gets rain, northern Arizona will see snow — though not enough for skiers or snowboarders to gear up.
Justin Johndrow, a National Weather Service meteorologist in northern Arizona, said elevations above 7,500 feet should get snow this afternoon. North of the Grand Canyon, the Kaibab area could get three to six inches. In Flagstaff, only a couple of inches will fall and the snow won’t last long, Johndrow said. But the Arizona Snowbowl ski area, at 9,500 to 11,000 feet, could get up to a foot.
Veronica Picard of Arizona Snowbowl laughed when asked if she thought the ski slopes would open. Snowbowl’s summer attraction, called the Scenic Skyride, will still be running, weather permitting, she said.
Wanek said those wanting to hit the slopes will have to wait.
"They’ll need another couple of these to go through before they can open anything up," she said.
The storm should banish 80-degree temperatures though, at least through the weekend. Highs for the Valley are forecast as being in the mid-70s and lows in the high 50s.