Climate of Arizona

The Arizona climate can present a challenge to those unfamiliar with its wide ranging temperatures. Cold air masses from Canada can bring icy temperatures, well below zero, in the high plateau and mountainous regions of central and northern Arizona. When these northern winds arrive you won’t need your swimsuit. The bone chilling temperatures can plummet to - 35 degrees F (- 37 ºC) in the higher elevations where snow can often accumulation to depths of 100 inches or more during the winter. In the summer months, Arizona’s high temperatures can exceed 125 degrees F (51.6ºC) in the desert.

Great extremes can occur between day and night temperatures throughout Arizona. The daily range between maximum and minimum temperatures sometimes runs as much as 50 to 60 degrees F (10 to 15.5ºC) in a single day.

During winter months, daytime temperatures may average 70 degrees F (21ºC), with night temperatures often falling well below freezing in the lower desert valleys.

In the summer, the pine-clad forests in the central part of the state may have afternoon temperatures of 80 degrees F (26.6ºC), while night temperatures drop to 35 or 40 degrees F (1.6 or 4.4ºC).

A large portion of Arizona is classed as semiarid and long periods often occur with little or no precipitation. The air is generally dry and clear, with low relative humidity and a high percentage of sunshine. Regardless of the season, visitors to Arizona are likely to find a climate that reminds them of home.