Arizona Weather / Climate

Arizona Weather / Climate

Arizona has a relatively dry climate with very little rainfall throughout the state, but the temperature of the state may vary from place to place depending on the geographic features of the region and the altitude. The variation in the temperature and the precipitation can be observed as we move from the northern part of Arizona towards the south. The higher elevation areas has around 25 to 30 inches of precipitation annually, while in the southwest region, in the desert area at low altitude, the rainfall averages up to around 3 to 5 inches and the plateau region in the north western region can have an annual precipitation of around 10 inches.

The Temperature in Arizona

The temperature n Arizona varies from place to place and also in different altitude and seasons. The high altitude region of the northern and central Arizona might have very low temperature; which can even reach below 0 degree Fahrenheit when the cold air masses from Canada rushes into the state of Arizona. The temperature has been noted to dip to a reading of -35 degree Fahrenheit at winter in high altitude region. At lower altitudes, high temperatures are common during the summer season and in desert areas, it has even been observed to have reached a temperature of 125 degree Fahrenheit. The temperature may also vary between day and night at the same place, and the difference in the day and night temperature may reach up to around 40 or 50 degrees when recorded within a twenty four hour period.

Arizona Precipitation

The season of the year and the altitude of the place govern the precipitation in the State of Arizona. The amount of precipitation in the form of rain and snow also differ throughout the state. In the central and the northern part of the state with high mountains, winter storms may occur during the month of November to March. The winter storms which are the result of the air currents coming from the Pacific Ocean may sometimes result in heavy snow fall in these high altitude regions. During winter the precipitation (snow) can reach up to a hundred inches or more. It is the gradual melting of this snow during the months of spring, which helps to maintain the water level in the main rivers in the state like the Colorado River. The precipitation thus serves in the farming of the areas along the Salt River Valley and the Gila River Valley area which may otherwise have difficulty in irrigation.

The moisture laden wind from the Gulf of Mexico penetrates into the state of Arizona to bring summer rainfall during the months of July to September. Similarly, the moisture laden wind from the Gulf of California may also bring about summer rains in the Southern part of the State and most of the time the heating up of the ground and the rising of the air near the ground may lead to heavy thunder storm during these months. These heavy thunderstorms are usually found commonly in the southeastern part and the central regions of Arizona. These thunderstorms are very often preceded by strong dust storm and wind which are taken as the indication of the coming rain and thunder.

Arizona Storms

A few numbers of heavy thunderstorms may occur during the months of July and August and this might result in occasional floods in the river basins and the regions around the river plain. Usually these floods which occur on the main rivers of the State of Arizona may reach just up to the upper basins of the storage dams. The thunderstorm which result from the air current from the Gulf of Mexico and the Gulf of California may occur very rarely maybe once or twice in about ten years and the winds accompanying the heavy thunderstorm may reach up to 100 miles an hour and occasional tornadoes can also occur on an average of once in a year in certain regions of the state. Though thunderstorms, tornadoes and heavy rain fall may occur at different regions of the state, hail storms are very uncommon in the State of Arizona.

The Duration of Precipitation in Arizona

The numbers of days when the state receive precipitation of any form also differ from region to region in Arizona. When it is an average of 15 days in Yuma, it is around 70 to 80 days in Flagstaff. But major part of the state of Arizona receives little or no precipitation at all for a very long period of time and it is only once or twice in a few many years that the place receive the rainfall. In the state, the months of December to February are the cloudiest ones and has very less number of sunny days, but the months from April to June are the clear and sunny ones with little clouds or rainfall. July and August which are the thunderstorm months in Arizona are the most humid ones even though the humidity may be very low when compared to the other states of the nation. The humidity may range from around 33% in Yuma to around 55% in Flagstaff and the humidity may be very low during the dry summer months in the desert land in the central regions of the state.

Average Temperatures and Rainfall in Arizona

Desert Climates in Arizona

Month Average Low Average High Rainfall
January 41.2F/5.1C 65.9F/18.8C 0.6"
February 44.7F/7C 70.7F/21.5C 0.7"
March 48.8F/9.3C 75.5F/24.2C 0.9"
April 55.3F/12.9C 84.5F/29.2C 0.22"
May 63.9F/12.9C 84.5F/29.2C 0.22"
June 72.9F/22.7C 103.5F/39.7C 0.1"
July 81.0F/27.2C 105.9F/41.1C 0.1"
August 79.2F/26.2C 103.7F/39.8C 0.9"
September 72.8F/22.6C 98.3F/36.8C 1.0"
October 60.8F/16C 88.1F/31.2C 0.86"
November 48.9F/9.4C 74.9F/23.8C 0.7"
December 41.8F/5.4C 66.2F/19C 1.0"

Mountain Climates in Arizona

Month Average Low Average High Rainfall
January 16F/-8.8C 43F/6.1C 2.18"
February 19F/-7.2C 46F/7.8C 2.56"
March 23F/-5C 50F/10C 2.63"
April 27FF/-2.8C 58F/14.4C 1.29"
May 34F/1.1C 68F/20C 0.8"
June 41F/5C 79/26.1C 0.43"
July 50F/10C 82F/27.8C 2.4"
August 49F/9.4C 80F/26.7C 2.89"
September 42F/5.6C 74F/23.3C 2.12"
October 31F/-0.5C 63F/17.2C 1.93"
November 22F/-5.5C 51F/10.6C 1.86"
December 17F/-8.3C 44F/6.6C 1.83"