Storm system heading our way

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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) – High pressure aloft has recently controlled the area. After a period of calm and warm days, the next model change is fast approaching. A trough will dig into Southern California then head into Sunday. A tightening pressure gradient will bring strong winds from Saturday evening to early Sunday morning ahead of this system. Blown dust will likely be in the dust prone areas of I-10 and I-8 through early Sunday. On Sunday, expect southwesterly gusts of 20 to 25 mph in the valley.

In addition to strong winds, this low pressure will bring chances of rain and much cooler air. Of course, the chances of rain in the low deserts are slim, where less than a tenth of an inch of rain is forecast – up to a 25% chance by Sunday afternoon. High altitude rain and snow will be more likely north and east of Phoenix. Snow levels around 6500 feet will mostly support a light dusting of snow. Across the Kaibab Plateau and the White Mountains above 7,000 feet, half an inch to a few inches of snowfall will be possible. A few rumbles of thunder and hail are also not to be excluded in the high country.

Temperatures will drop rapidly by Sunday afternoon. Sunday highs in the low deserts will only gather the lower and mid 70s. The high country can expect highs in the 40s and 50s on Sunday. After another windy and cool day on Monday, temperatures will rebound. Valley highs in the 80s next week will reach the lower 90s by Friday and next Saturday. The high country will see highs in the 60s and 70s towards the end of next week.

Spring, or the vernal equinox, officially begins on Sunday, March 20 at 8:33 a.m. PDT/MST. At this time, direct sunlight at 90 degrees will shine directly above the equator, so day and night will be roughly equal.

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