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Winter Preparedness Tips
El Niño Winter 2015-2016 - Overview
The National Weather Service (NWS) is forecasting a wetter than normal winter season for Northern Arizona due to a strong El Niño weather pattern. El Niño is a weather phenomenon characterized by very warm sea surface temperatures that fill the jet stream with high levels of moisture resulting in more frequent storms. The NWS predicts that this winter’s El Niño could be one of the strongest on record.

Strong El Niño winters can produce 120-160 percent of normal precipitation. Historically, seasonal snowfalls during a strong El Niño have reached an average of 135 inches – well above the approximately 100 inches of snow that Flagstaff experiences during a normal winter season. This is in contrast to recent winters which had well below normal precipitation.

An El Niño winter means that preparedness is more important than in recent years – especially for residents living on private roads.  Following are several other important reminders that will help to protect you and your family during El Niño:

Secure Private Plowing Services Now
For County residents living on private roads, one of the most important steps is to consider securing a professional plowing service now. Even if you live on a County road, a plowing service can clear windrows and driveways - services not provided by the County.

Sign up for CodeRED Emergency Notifications
Sign up for CodeRED emergency notifications at:

No Parking on County Roads
County Ordinance 86-6 prohibits motorists from parking on county roadways between Nov. 1 and April 1 on a 24-hour basis. Residents are asked to park their vehicles 5 to 10 feet from the roadway to allow ample room for snowplows to pass. Please remove all private objects from County right of way (i.e.: yard art, planters and trash bins).

Prepare Your Home for Extended “Snow-Ins”
El Niño winters are characterized by more frequent snow events, some of which can last several days. These storms can cause power outages and significantly hinder travel. In the event of a being stranded by a “Snow-In,” it is imperative to have enough supplies at home to weather the storm.

All County residents should have the following on hand: 

* Three days of non-perishable food and water (one gallon per day per family member)

* First aid kit and extra supply of medication

* Personal hygiene supplies, extra clothing, footwear, gloves, blankets, sleeping bags

* Extra food for pets and livestock

* Flashlight, extra batteries, candles and a battery operated radio

* Alternate heat source (kerosene, wood, etc.)

* Full propane tank (if applicable)

* Extra set of car keys, cash, credit cards

* Snow shovels

* An emergency plan for the entire family

Winterize Your Vehicle
Winterize your vehicle now (antifreeze, wipers, battery, snow tires) and stock it with an emergency kit consisting of tire chains or cables, blankets, tow strap, jumper cables, flashlight, water, first aid kit, ice scraper, extra clothing, and appropriate tools. Remember to keep your gas tank at least half full to help prevent freezing in the fuel lines.

Plan Travel Accordingly
Good winter travel planning is critical for the safety of Coconino County residents and visitors alike. Stay aware and informed about incoming and ongoing storms through a weather radio or by visiting the NWS website at Use the Arizona Department of Transportation’s (ADOT) system for interstate travel information before you leave home. The County encourages all citizens to heed all NWS Winter Storm Watches and Warnings and to stay off the roads as much as possible during a storm. If you must travel, then let someone know your intended route and expected time of arrival.

Purchase/Renew Flood Insurance Now
The risk from El Niño flooding this winter is real. A separate flood insurance policy through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) covers damage to your home and belongings caused by flooding. Purchase or renew your flood insurance through or by calling 1-800-720-1093. Please note that when purchasing a flood insurance policy, there is a 30-day waiting period for coverage to become effective.

Additional Information
For questions about snow removal operations and related road conditions, please contact the following:

* Emergencies: To report snow-related road emergencies, please call 9-1-1.

* Coconino County: For County maintained roads, please call Public Works at 928-679- 8300 during normal business hours (7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.). Follow Coconino County on Facebook at and Twitter at for updates on road and weather conditions as they become available.

* City of Flagstaff: Please call either 928-213-2175 or 928-774-1605 during normal business hours.

* Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT): For highway road conditions, please call 5-1-1 or visit ADOT’s online Traffic Operations Center at

* National Weather Service (NWS): For weather information about winter storms, please visit the NWS web page at

* NWS El Niño Page: For information about El Niño throughout the winter season, please visit

Contact Us
Carl Fuller
Road Maintenance Superintendent

Ph: (928) 679-8300
Toll Free: (800) 790-1990
Fax: (928) 526-8221

5600 E. Commerce
Flagstaff, AZ 86004
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