Tucson’s Weather

Moving to Tucson? Here is some information about Tucson‘s weather from one of my favorite local websites #Thisistucson

Learning how to become a more rooted desert-dweller starts with knowing the rhythm of our seasons.

For example: When to hunker down and blast the AC and when to bring a jacket because yes, it gets cold.

Tucson gets around 300 (or more) full days of sunshine in a year, according John Glueck, a senior meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Tucson. But we also get rain, and even snow occasionally.

Spend any amount of time here, and you’re bound to hear someone offer the climate commentary that, at least “it’s a dry heat.”

Basically, that just means that for most of the year, we’re not dealing with humidity in addition to 100-degree days. And in a place where we’re likely to see an average of 62 100-degree days in a year, we’ll take what we can get. (Naturally, 2020 blasted through 1994’s record of 99 100-degree days because of course it did).

☀️ Summer heat

June is typically Tucson‘s hottest month. As the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum notes, in its own record of Tucson‘s seasons, “Nearly every living thing is in basic survival mode until the rains arrive.” We feel that. June 1990 is also when Tucson had its record high temperature of 117 degrees. 🥵 Remember, Tucson is located in a desert. So yeah, it does get brutally hot.

And it’s important to treat the heat with respect. Take tons of water with you wherever you go and plan your summer outings for mornings and evenings. It’s a matter of safety — people have died hiking desert trails without enough water.

Many summers, though, the hot and dry conditions usher in a monsoon season that officially spans June 15 to Sept. 30. Nothing makes Tucsonans grumpier than a delayed or wimpy monsoon season. This is a place where rain is an event worthy of stopping everything else so you can go and stand at the windows  — or better yet, outside.

Glueck says Tucson begins to see isolated storms as moisture moves in from the gulfs of Mexico or California. These mighty thunderstorms overturn trees, flood streets and reduce your visibility to basically zero. Expect booming thunder, flashing lightning and damaging winds that can exceed 50 miles per hour. Flash flooding is also a thing. Even if it’s dry where you are, it could be raining upstream, resulting in a wall of water crashing through a wash. Never try to drive through a flooded wash or intersection.

🍂 Fall is mostly a state of mind

Eventually, summer and monsoon season give way to autumn. Most Tucsonans spend the month of September pretending it’s fall, even though it’s actually still 100-degrees outside. Temperatures truly begin to dip in October and then then desert cools rather quickly in the following months. Winter brings some rain and occasionally the rare sight of snow dusting saguaros. El Niño, the warming of waters in the Pacific Ocean at the equator, can enhance those rains some years.

🏔️ If you miss the snow, try a trip up to Mount Lemmon

Just above Tucson — the mountain has fall leaves, winter snow and beautiful hikes around 40 miles from downtown Tucson. You’ll find forested hillsides, a tiny mountain village and even ski slopes. It’s charming but can also be crowded. When it snows, all of Tucson makes the pilgrimage up the mountain.

December, January and February bring mild days in the 60s and 70s but cold nights, with lows dropping into the 20s and 30s at certain points. In January 1913, Tucson saw an all-time record low of just 6 degrees, according to the National Weather Service.

🌱 Spring is glorious

Spring in Tucson is glorious and can arrive as early as February. It’s especially sweet to live here this time of year. As the rest of the country bemoans its winter weather, Tucsonans hike the desert, dine on patios and enjoy a parade of flowers. Wildflowers give way to cactus blooms, and then summer arrives.

But don’t worry. You’ll be fine. Slather on the sunscreen, drink lots of water and make sure your air conditioner is ready for battle. We’ll save you a spot in the shade.