Winter weather chilling Valley through Wednesday

Matt Dempsey The Arizona Republic Jan. 17, 2006 12:00 AM

Call it the Mini Chill.

After weeks of above-average temperatures, residents of the Valley faced a tiny taste of winter Monday.

With a cold front blowing in over the weekend, temperatures dropped from a high of 75 degrees on Saturday to 60 degrees Monday.

Many of the hundreds who marched in temperatures in the 40s from Pilgrim Rest Church to Margaret T. Hance Park in honor of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. wore winter coats, hats or gloves.

The National Weather Service issued a freeze warning from 2 a.m. to 7 a.m. today, but if you woke up to damaged plants, don't trim them yet.

John Babiarz, co-owner of Greenfield Citrus Nursery in Mesa, recommends holding off on pruning until there's no chance of temperatures dropping below freezing.

Other parts of the state welcomed the cold and snow that came with it. About 4 inches of snow fell Monday in the White Mountains near Greer, giving fresh powder to skiers at Sunrise Park Resort. Likewise, the Arizona Snowbowl in Flagstaff saw about 2 inches of snow Monday. The weather service reported a chance for snow showers throughout the week for both areas.

In the Valley, tonight's lows should be warm enough that only isolated areas will be likely to get below freezing.

The small cold spell should come to an end by Wednesday with normal temperatures lasting through the weekend.

Reporters Mike Cronin and Lindsey Collom contributed to this article.

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