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Storm brings high winds to Arizona and the Southwest

A winter storm making its way through the western U.S. is expected to carry winds capable of downing power lines and trees in Arizona, New Mexico and Nevada, while dropping rain and snow.

Gusts could hit 55 mph in metropolitan Phoenix on Wednesday and even higher in Prescott and Flagstaff to the north, at 70 mph, the National Weather Service said.

Up to a foot of snow is expected by Thursday morning in elevations above 5,000 feet in Arizona, forecasters said.

Some schools in Flagstaff announced closures ahead of the storm that's expected to hit Arizona on Tuesday night. Weather forecasters and local and state officials encouraged drivers to stay off the roads.

“Damaging winds and treacherous to impossible driving conditions are expected due to blowing dust and snow,” the weather service in Flagstaff said.

The storm system will carry over into New Mexico with high winds, rain and possibly snow across the state Wednesday, including in the Albuquerque area. A high wind warning is in effect for most of New Mexico through Thursday morning, with wind gusts of up to 70 mph, the weather service there said.

Those winds speeds also could materialize in Nevada, where forecasters have issued a dust advisory for Clark County, which includes Las Vegas.

APS reported nearly 10,000 had been impacted in the Flagstaff area, where there are reports of whiteout conditions and sustained 70 mph winds. 

The National Weather Service there says damaging winds and snow will be seen throughout the day. 

High winds triggered power outages in the Phoenix area, as well, this morning. Crews with APS and SRP are working to restore electricity. 

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Lauren Gilger, host of KJZZ's The Show, is an award-winning journalist whose work has impacted communities large and small, exposing injustices and giving a voice to the voiceless and marginalized.