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Authorities deal with numerous accidents due to snow

JC AMBERLYN/Miner
Sarah and Phillip Ponce roll up snowmen at Centennial Park Tuesday afternoon.

JC AMBERLYN/Miner Sarah and Phillip Ponce roll up snowmen at Centennial Park Tuesday afternoon.

KINGMAN - Monday's sudden snow surprised motorists and sent public safety resources scrambling. The Arizona Department of Public Safety, Mohave County Sheriff's Office and Kingman Police Department responded to numerous accidents throughout the day.

The National Weather Service reported a low of 32 and a high of 43 degrees Monday at the Kingman Airport.

The station also reported wind gusts out of the south and southwest up to 20 miles per hour and nearly an inch of precipitation in 24 hours.

DPS threw all of its resources at the storm, which caused havoc over five counties Monday, according to a DPS news release.

"This is the worst snowstorm that DPS has ever had to deal with in Northern Arizona," said Commander Dean Nyhart, DPS Northern Bureau Highway Division.

At one point Monday, DPS reported parts of westbound Interstate 40 closed near the Mohave and Yavapai county line due to semi-trucks stuck in the snow.

Traffic from that area was diverted to State Route 66 near Seligman.

According to DPS, the traffic backup near the detour stretched for nearly 12 miles.

On Monday afternoon, DPS reported a jackknifed semi-truck blocking the eastbound lanes of I-40 near Kingman.

U.S. 93 was also blocked Monday afternoon by a jackknifed semi-truck near the Highway 68 junction in Golden Valley, and Highway 68 had its own share of jackknifed semi-trucks between Kingman and Bullhead City.

The Mohave County Public Works Department closed Diamond Bar Road in Dolan Springs, Hualapai Mountain Road in Kingman and parts of Stockton Hill Road, north of Kingman Monday.

By Monday evening, DPS was recommending motorist stay home or use a four-wheel drive vehicle or snow chains if they had to go out.

Tuesday morning, Route 66 was closed due to snow.

Motorists traveling from Bullhead City to Kingman Tuesday morning along Highway 68 had a 45-minute or longer wait at Union pass in order to get into Golden Valley.

Due to the high number of accidents, motorist assists and motorists sliding off the road across the state Monday and Tuesday, DPS was unable to give an exact number of accidents that it responded to in the Mohave County/ Kingman area.

As of 1 p.m. Tuesday, I-40 and U.S. 93 were both open in either direction, according to DPS. Route 66 was closed between Peach Springs and Seligman and motorists were still having problems driving over Union and Coyote passes on Highway 68.

However, it looks as if the possibility of snow has left the forecast for the next few days.

The National Weather Service is calling for a high of 48 and a low o 34 degrees on Wednesday with winds up to 18 miles per hour.

On Thursday, there is a 20 percent chance of showers, with a high of 47 and a low of 31 degrees and winds up to 13 mph.

Friday is expected to be partially sunny with a high of 50 degrees and a low of 33 degrees.

There is a chance of rain in the evening with snow down to 4,400 feet.