Desert paradise transformed into a winter wonderland - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

Desert paradise transformed into a winter wonderland

Updated:
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -

It was a wild day of weather in the valley -- from rain to "snow-like" graupel. Graupel is a combination of hail and snow. Think of it as a snowflake covered in ice, or soft hail.

The accumulation was enough to get people outside to build a snowman or have a snowfight.

Ken Herb had to brush the snowy stuff off his windshield -- like most Arizonans he didn't have an ice scraper handy.

"I thought I had to drive up north to go play in the snow but I only had to drive 10 minutes down the street," laughed Lindsey Bentley.

"It's weird I've never seen Arizona like this," said Catrina Burns, who has lived here for 17 years.

We are just a few days away from the start of spring training baseball -- but Salt River Fields was covered in the white stuff. It forced the Diamondbacks to cut their practice short.

Check out our weather slideshow from above Scottsdale.

When it comes to the rain, one of the hardest hit areas was just south of the valley near Casa Grande. At one point, the rain was coming down sideways.

The fast-moving storm drenched the southeast valley. Semi trucks had to stop and wait out the storm.

"There was a truck ahead of me that was going real slow so I decided I'd pull over," said trucker Norman Haaland, from Billings, Montana.

"You got to be real careful because you can hydroplane if there's a lot of water on the roads."

Some streets in Casa Grande were even starting to flood.

"It was raining harder that I've seen in Seattle and we get a lot of wet there," says driver Dawn Mack.

Luckily, there were no major accidents in Casa Grande.

Video: FOX 10's Kristen Keogh, Britt Moreno, Andrew Hasbun and Mia Garcia report.

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