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PHOENIX (CBS5) -
A wintry mix of snow and hail covered the ground throughout the Phoenix area Wednesday afternoon as parts of the Valley looked more like a winter wonderland than a barren desert.
In the area of 15th Avenue and Rose Lane, our news helicopter flew over a blanket of white on the ground. The chopper also sighted left-overs from this mixed bag of weather at 19th Avenue and Bethany Home Road.
Graupel forms in the strong up and downdrafts of "convective" type showers. Snowflakes form above the freezing level, then partially melt as they fall closer to the ground. That partially melted snowflake then refreezes as it is carried upward, then melts again on the trip back down to the ground. When it hits the ground, it's part hail, part snow, part rain.
Salt River Fields off the Loop 101 in Scottsdale was also blanketed in white.
Hail stopped Interstate 17 traffic south of Camelback Wednesday afternoon.
In Tucson, snow suspended first-round play at southern Arizona's premier golf event - the Match Play Championship.
The latest front hit the Valley about 6:30 a.m. Wednesday and rained steadily through at least 10 a.m. Round Two hit the Valley about five hours later with the mix of snow, hail and rain.
A measuring station at Pima and Jomax roads in north Scottsdale showed 0.59 of an inch fell by 9 a.m., according to the Flood Control District of Maricopa County. The most rainfall had occurred in Hesperus Wash in McDowell Mountain Regional Park, where 0.63 of an inch fell.
Bartlett Lake and three other stations reported more than a half-inch of rain.
In the Dreamy Draw area near State Route 51 and Northern Avenue, 0.47 of an inch fell, 0.40 of an inch was measured at 16th Street and Missouri Avenue in central Phoenix.
Wednesday's high temperature was expected to reach only 54 degrees, some 20 degrees cooler than Tuesday's high, CBS 5 meteorologist Steve Garry said.
In the state's high country, CBS 5 News' Jason Kadah measured about 4 inches of snow in central Flagstaff, where the latest winter storm has closed school in the Flagstaff Unified School District and at Northern Arizona University.
In Show Low, schools in the Show Low School District were on a two-hour delay.
As for other mountain snowfall measurements, here are the Wednesday mid-afternoon reports:
6" to 9" - Payson
8" - Pine
3" to 6" - Flagstaff
4" - Miami
2" - Superior
2" - Prescott
U.S. 60 between Superior and Miami re-opened late Wednesday afternoon after heavy snow closed it earlier, according the Arizona Department of Transportation.
Chains are required on State Route 260 east of Camp Verde and State Route 80 is closed near Bisbee from mileposts 332 to 340.
Copyright 2013 CBS 5 (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.
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