What had been looking like a week of rain leading up to a brown Christmas in Flagstaff has been changed to up to 10 inches of snow.
"We're looking at a white Christmas -- if it doesn't melt by Saturday," said Darren McCullum, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Bellemont.
The Weather Service has issued a winter weather watch for between 4 and 10 inches of snow in Flagstaff starting midday Wednesday and ending Thursday morning. Snow accumulations above 7,500 feet could range up to 16 inches.
A "watch" is one level below a warning, meaning the forecast could still change.
"If the front is warmer, the snow amount could be at the lower end of the forecast," McCullum said.
By Saturday, temperatures in Flagstaff could rise into the upper 40s, putting much of that white stuff at risk of melting.
For today and tonight, expect snow levels to remain above 9,000 feet along the Mogollon Rim to 8,000 feet near the Utah border. Rain will be accompanied by gusty winds, but as of Monday night, forecasters had not issued a flood advisory for areas in Doney Park below the Schultz burn area.
Following is the forecast for Flagstaff through Christmas Day from the National Weather Service:
Today: Rain. High near 41. Breezy, with a southwest wind between 21 and 25 mph, with gusts as high as 34 mph. Chance of precipitation is 80 percent.
Tonight: Rain. Low around 37. Breezy, with a southwest wind between 20 and 23 mph, with gusts as high as 30 mph. Chance of precipitation is 80 percent.
Wednesday: Rain. Snow level 7,600 feet. High near 42. Breezy, with a south southwest wind between 20 and 22 mph, with gusts as high as 36 mph. Chance of precipitation is 90 percent.
Wednesday Night: Rain and snow, becoming all snow after 11 p.m. Low around 28. Southwest wind between 11 and 20 mph, with gusts as high as 31 mph. Chance of precipitation is 90 percent. New snow accumulation of 3 to 5 inches possible.
Thursday: A 30 percent chance of snow, mainly before 11 a.m. Partly sunny, with a high near 39. Little or no snow accumulation expected.
Thursday night: Partly cloudy, with a low around 20.
Friday: Sunny, with a high near 44.
Friday Night: Partly cloudy, with a low around 21.
Christmas Day: Mostly sunny, with a high near 48.