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Old 11-29-2009, 09:20 PM   #1
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I 40 west in the winter?

We are planning a trip west on I 40 from Nashville to Las Vegas the last week of Dec. I'm a little concerned about the higher elevations in NM and AZ and wonder what kind of weather we could expect the last week of Dec? Will it be too cold to stop and look at any of the sights along this route? Any advice or suggestions appreciated.
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Old 11-30-2009, 07:55 AM   #2
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Gary N.:

Yup, the I-40 route would be a concern for us too. It'll be pretty crisp, and I can tell ya that at least the Flagstaff/Williams portion of Arizona could either be sparkling blue sky or blizzard!! Watch the weather and travel accordingly. If ya stay in Williams during a good weather window, DO run up to the South rim of the Grand Canyon. It'll be cold, but beautiful.

If I-40 is not looking good for weather, consider dropping South and taking I-10 through Arizona over to Ehrenberg on the AZ, California border then follow Hwy. 95 North. It's quick, easy and interesting country. Steve & Lynette
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Old 11-30-2009, 09:12 AM   #3
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A few years ago, I got caught in the first major storm of the year going from LV to Indiana via I40. Snow all across Arizona, almost trapped in a rest stop, snow so deep you couldn't see cars. New Mexico, I spent the night replacing an alternator, snowing and holding a flashlight with my teeth. Texas had the worst winds and blinding snow along with terrible road clearing service (didn't seem to exist). It took 24 hours of none stop driving to get from Albuquerque, NM to Amarillo, TX and it's only 280 miles!
That's about 11˝ mph!! Won't do that again.
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Old 11-30-2009, 09:39 AM   #4
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We drive from Albuquerque to LA every December for Christmas, so far we have taken Rt 40 every time. One year there was snow from Gallup NM to the AZ border and it got slow but not dangerious. We have driven through light snow in the Flagstaff area but in the 5 years we'v been making the trip we've never felt we were going to be strabded.

If you can arrange stops in Albuquerque and drive through past Kingman. AZ before you stay the night you can avoid the worst of the cold for your overnight stays.

We'll be leaving Albuquerque on Dec 23 this year, hope to see you on Rt 40 (Historic Rt 66). Drive safe.

Here is a picture of the worst in 2008 Gallup, NM

Dick
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Old 11-30-2009, 09:59 AM   #5
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Unless you have a "drop dead date" where you must leave on a specific date and arrive on a specific date then I would plan on taking the preferred route. If that includes I-40, so be it. It should be a great drive. The weather folks aren't always right but they are not going to get a 40 degree day wrong enough that you will run into a blizzard. Watch the weather, plan your travel into and out of Flagstaff for the middle of the day for the most warmth and stop and enjoy the countryside if a storm sweeps in ahead of you.
If you need an overnight stop in Flagstaff be sure to visit the Black Bart's RV park and have dinner that the restaurant there. Excellent prime rib and signing waiters/waitresses. Lot's of fun.
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Old 11-30-2009, 05:17 PM   #6
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Almost every state has a visitor web site where they will have a “winter road conditions” link. Many of the larger towns that you will be traveling through will also have their own web sites.
Also go to- http://www.accuweather.com and http://www.weather.com/ They both have a week, 2 week and month weather predictions, Do a search for the town (or use zip codes) that you will be going through in severe weather suspect areas.
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Old 11-30-2009, 05:21 PM   #7
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I should of aded that Flagstaff is about 7,000' in elevation and will probably be potentally the worst fo blizzards. The good side of it is that from there to LV is all down hill! LOL
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Old 11-30-2009, 09:47 PM   #8
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It can be hit or miss. I did a trip from upstate NY to California The 1st week of Jan 2006. While in Binghamton NY the 1st night it dropped 3 in of snow. That made my decition easy head south asap. I went straight south to Bristol TN and I40. Went straight across the country to Kingman Az then up to Vegas then on into Ca. on I 15. Had no problems after out of NY. Just watch the weather reports.
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Old 11-30-2009, 10:33 PM   #9
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Try this for link your weather planning. Make note of the day-time pull-down box in the lower right of the screen. Very handy planning tool. I do the east-west northern routes many times a winter and plan my weather windows using it.

Forecast Maps : Weather Underground
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Old 12-01-2009, 08:04 AM   #10
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Like I said. We've made the trip five years in a row over Christmas and one time it snowed (See Picture). This year like every year we'll check the weather before we leave and if it looks bad we'll head south through Tucson but so far we haven't had to add that extra mialage.

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Old 12-10-2009, 03:18 PM   #11
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Thanks to all for the useful info and links.
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