Arizona Weather. What Is The Best Time To Visit?

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by Bill Borden
Founder of ArizonaCircle.Com

The best time to visit the Phoenix area is from mid October to mid April. From the end of May to the end of Sept it is very hot and dry.

In Northern Arizona and Grand Canyon areas, the best time to visit is in the summer months. When it's 120 degrees in Phoenix, it can be 70 degrees in Flagstaff Arizona which is only about 145 miles north of Phoenix. The reason for the temperature variation is the elevation of Flagstaff and Grand Canyon rims.

Of course if you love skiing and winter activities the best time to visit Northern Arizona is during the winter. It can get very cold and snowy in the mountains of Northern Arizona.

During the late fall, winter, and early spring, the weather is generally warm and sunny every single day. It does get cooler at night after the sun sets. It's unusual for Phoenix to see snow during the winter. However it may drop below freezing a few times during the winter.

Tucson tends to be slightly cooler than Phoenix during the summer months and the mountains are closer so people go to higher ground for cooler temperatures. However it's still hot in Tucson, just not quite as hot. 100 degrees and higher is hot no matter which way you look at it.

Yuma is one of the hottest spots in Arizona as well. As you head north of Phoenix the elevation rises and temperatures drop, but heading south of Phoenix is all desert. Conditions are extreme during the summer months.

Most residents of central and southern Arizona stay indoors in the air conditioning during the summer months especially mid day and into the evenings. It does get cooler around 2am to 9 or 10am. Daybreak is the best time for hiking, golf, and the outdoors.

In July and August it can get too hot to stay outdoors too long after about 11am. In fact it can be dangerous to do strenuous physical activity without adequate water. You may not feel thirsty but because of the extreme temperatures and dry desert air with hardly any humidity, dehydration can overtake even people who are in excellent physical condition.

When you get into your car and it's 120 degrees outside, it can be much hotter in your car. It takes a while for air conditioning to compensate for extremely hot temperatures, so several short trips during the summer can be uncomfortable. Although there aren't too many shade trees in the desert, people tend to grab whatever shade they can find in parking lots or city streets even if it means walking a longer distance. In addition almost everyone has sun shades on the front window of their car. Leaving pets or children in a car even with the windows opened a little can result in death within a few minutes.

Arizona Monsoon Season Information.

The desert receives very little rain. Almost every day is sunny most years. However when it rains, it tends to come down hard within an hour or two. I've seen one winter around 2004 or 2005 when it rained all winter long. Every day was wet and drizzle, so there's always exceptions to the rule. However that was a very unusual year.

Typically the Moonsoon season starts end of July and goes to the end of September, But you can get monsoons outside this time frame as well.

Since it rains very little in the desert, drainage systems are not built in some low lying areas to handle torential rain storms. During a monsoon when several inches of rain falls all at once, these areas can easily flood making driving impossible. Over the years Phoenix has improved drainage, but caution is still necessary when driving in Phoenix or any desert community during a monsoon.

During a monsoon heavy winds can rip trees out of the ground. Lightning and downed power lines can cause fires and dangerous condtions in addition to flooding.

Here are some pictures of a monsoon.

monsoon lightning

monsoon lightning flash

monsoon lightning strike

monsoon lightning in the clouds

When Is The Monsoon Season? Are Monsoons Dangerous?

Normally the monsoon season in Phoenix starts mid July and ends at the beginning of September. During that time torrential downpours, high winds, and dazzling lightning displays, provide excellent reasons for residents to sit out on their covered patios and watch the show!

Rain in the desert is a rare occurrence. However there are some exceptions. In the winter of 2005 or 2006 it seemed to rain almost every single day and it came down hard throughout each day. This went on for months and I was beginning to feel that I was living in New England again with the exception that it was much warmer. The following spring, wild flowers, and plants of all kinds gave thanks by displaying vibrant colors and lush green foliage.

Since rainfall is limited in the desert and sunshine can be the norm for several months in a row, many people take advantage of the monsoons by going outside and enjoying the cool, refreshing rain. Monsoons usually develop in the late afternoon or evening after a hot, 'humid' day. (A humid day in the desert is a laughing matter for most visitors. 'High' humidity is anything over 50% because the normal is far less than that.)

Monsoons can be 'fun' if you're at home and your roof is in good shape, but they can also be dangerous. Flash floods can make some roads impassable. Lightning can cause fires, knocking down trees and power lines. The heavy rains, thunder, and lightning doesn't last long, - usually only a couple of hours but during that time a lot rain can fall.

Flooding is caused by lack of drainage in some areas. The rain falls so fast and all at once making conditions very dangerous for commuters in addition to lightning fires and power outages.

What Is A Monsoon?

Video Phoenix Monsoon Flood.


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