CLIFTON — The East Coast may have been ravaged by two strong winter storms this past holiday weekend, but the state of Arizona was no stranger to bad weather.
In Graham and Greenlee counties, steady rains made for a wet Thanksgiving week while the north country saw a healthy dusting of snow.
On the southern edge of the Grand Canyon, however, 1,000 residents and tourists in the Tusayan community received more than a little snow. The town was buried under two-feet of snow Friday and had been without power for nearly 24 hours before being restored early Saturday.
“Thanks to the Tusayan Sanitary District, Coconino County, Robbco, Tiffany Constructors, and all the residents and employees in town who pitched in to help get the town and its guests back up and running,” town officials wrote on social media. “The sidewalks and all streets are passable, but remember that there will be slick spots once the sun goes down. Travel safe and slow.”
Phoenix was no stranger to its own wacky weather, experiencing three confirmed tornadoes in Maricopa County on Friday. Even one tornado is a rarity in the metro area and the National Weather Service confirmed in a tweet that the last time Phoenix experienced three in one day was in February 1992. The tornadoes were weak and managed to do only minor damage to property and infrastructure.
The community of Tonto Basin was less fortunate as rains caused a visiting family’s vehicle to be swept away by flooding. A family of nine — two adults and seven children — were traversing a creek when their vehicle became stuck. The Gila County Sheriff’s Department had closed the crossing several hours prior.
Both of the adults and four of the children were recovered safely. Of the three remaining children, two were confirmed deceased on Saturday morning and as of that evening, the third, a 6 year old girl, was still missing.
“The search operation continues for a reported one additional missing children. Multiple agencies are assisting to include: Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office, Arizona Department of Public Safety, Tonto Basin, TriCity and Globe Fire Departments,” Gila Cointy Sheriff’s Officials said.