Frigid temperatures chill southern Arizona, much of West

  • Lawrence Otero shovels snow from the driveway of his 92-year-old mother-in-law near West Mesa High School in Albuquerque, N.W., Wednesday, Jan. 2, 2019. (Adolphe Pierre-Louis/The Albuquerque Journal via AP)

  • Snow partially covers a cactus outside of Tucson near Vail, Ariz., Wednesday, Jan. 2, 2018. Southern Arizona and other parts of the Southwest are seeing unusually cold temperatures as a winter storm moves through the region. (Jessica Howard via AP)

PHOENIX — Snow was falling on cacti in southern Arizona, while Anchorage saw balmy weather — at least by Alaska standards.

The weather was flipped Wednesday throughout much of the West.

The Southwest is seeing unusually cold weather, including suburban Tucson, which saw as much as six inches of snow.

In Phoenix, the overnight low was 30 degrees for the first time in five years and more cold temperatures were expected Thursday.

Albuquerque saw heavy snowfall and icy roads that caused many government agencies and schools to close.

And the National Weather Service issued a freeze warning in the Nevada county where Las Vegas is located. Snow fell and stuck Tuesday on a desert highway over a mountain just 20 minutes outside of Sin City.

The cold weather and snow is “quite uncommon” for the area, National Weather Service meteorologist Glenn Lader said. In Arizona, he said, Nogales, a city on the Mexico border, had about six inches of snow.

Even Southern California got a bit of the action with rain expected as part of already cold, windy weather.

Meanwhile, some parts of Alaska rang in the new year with relatively balmy weather for the region that helped melt snow in Anchorage.

A change in the jet stream brought warmer air from the south, taking temperature to 44 degrees on New Year’s Day.

It was a nice respite from a winter mix that left 32.6 inches of snow on the ground in Anchorage in December, with most of it falling during the last half of the month.

Colder weather is in the forecast, with high temperatures dropping to the teens or even single digits.

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