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ADOT: Holiday travelers should plan for rain today and this weekend

Photo of overhead message board with winter travel warning

PHOENIX – Motorists who are hitting the road during the long Christmas weekend should prepare to use extra caution starting today as a winter storm delivers wet roads across Arizona and light snowfall at higher elevations.

While the National Weather Service is forecasting only moderate rainfall across most of Arizona, the wet weather is expected to extend for several days and leave highways wet and slick across much of the state. In northern Arizona, the forecast translates to 1-3 inches of snow — enough for drivers to expect icy conditions and for the Arizona Department of Transportation to deploy snowplows during a weekend of high traffic volumes.

Chances for rain will increase today and peak Friday or Saturday, depending on the location, with generally less than an inch of rainfall in the deserts. However,  two or more inches of rain are possible north and east of Phoenix, which could lead to flooding in southern Gila County Friday through Monday.

ADOT is asking drivers to remember winter driving tips as part of the agency’s Know Snow campaign, including:

  • Slow Down and Leave Extra Room: Adjust your speed to conditions. Driving slower and leaving space between your vehicle and others when snow and ice are present can improve your ability to brake and prevent skids.
  • Leave Prepared: Dress for cold weather, bring extra clothes and gloves, be sure your cellphone is charged, and pack food, water and necessary medications. Make sure your vehicle is in good working condition, starting with the battery, heater/defroster, wiper blades, wiper fluid and brakes.
  • Pack an Emergency Kit: For starters, take blankets, a flashlight, an ice scraper, a small shovel, a container of sand for traction and hazard lights or reflectors in case your vehicle becomes disabled. 
  • Beware of Black Ice: Black ice tends to form at night when melting snow freezes and is especially common on bridges.
  • Stay Up to Date: Visit ADOT’s Travel Information site at or call 511 to get the latest highway conditions, and pay attention to messages on overhead boards. ADOT’s Twitter feed (@ArizonaDOT) and Facebook page ( also provide information and answers about highway conditions.  

To help travelers this winter, ADOT has partnered with the National Weather Service to create graphics that use a color code for storm severity to better inform drivers of what to expect from winter storms. ADOT will use these color-coded graphics on its social media accounts to help drivers know what intensity of snowstorm to expect so drivers can make informed decisions about travel.

For more information about winter travel, please visit ADOT’s Know Snow campaign page,