Normally Sweltering Southwest Cools Off

SUNDAY, MAY 26, 1996

Snow, tornadoes, hail, lightning … Allyson Busch giggled as she rattled off the bizarre menu of weather in Arizona on Saturday.

It was far from your typical Memorial Day weekend forecast, but after three weeks in the high 90s and 100s, even a water park employee like Busch was ready for a break.

“There’s definitely been that kind of mood around here. It’s a nice weather change,” said Busch, a secretary at Waterworld Safari Water Park.

Summer appeared to be taking a holiday in Arizona, where temperatures were about 20 degrees below normal around the state. It was 79 degrees in Phoenix, 43 degrees at the Grand Canyon and 68 degrees in Tucson at midday.

The unseasonable cold extended as far north as Las Vegas, where hail was reported Saturday, and as far as south as San Diego, where temperatures there and in Los Angeles were 20 to 30 degrees colder than normal. Eight inches of snow fell Friday in southern Nevada, where it was still cold and rainy.

While there were no initial reports of damage, the National Weather Service issued tornado warnings throughout the afternoon in northeastern Arizona after a funnel cloud was spotted east of Tuba City, on the Navajo Indian Reservation.

The cool snap was the result of a strong low pressure system centered over Las Vegas.

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