Phoenix Arizona is one of the most popular sunny destinations in the United States. It is estimated that Phoenix has a total of 300 sunny days every year. It is true, Phoenix is usually sunny, offers lots of fun both indoors and out and is usually affordable, but when traveling to Phoenix it is important to understand and respect the harsh elements of the climate.
In addition to the various seasons there are three weather related conditions that you should always expect: heat, extremely low humidity, and pollution. The average temperature in Phoenix is 76.3 degrees but can reach highs into the 100's and lows below freezing.
The city is almost continually covered by a "brown cloud;" if you have allergies bring plenty of medicine with you and check the morning news for any health advisories. If you do most of your outdoor site seeing after 10:00 a.m. and before 5:00 p.m. you should be ok. The heat of the sun lifts much of the cloud during these times. The pollution in the Valley does seem to be lower in the summer when the sun is hot and at its worst during the spring and winter months.
Spring: Sunny and 75 Degrees
Spring is by far the most beautiful time of year to visit Phoenix, Arizona. Not only is the weather mild and usually sunny, but also the dessert is in full bloom. Most people do not realize that cactus indeed bloom with beautiful colors.
If you visit Phoenix in the spring you will need to bring your allergy medicine, along with the pollen in the air you can expect a brown cloud of pollution. We often joke that while we have sunny weather during the winter months, we need a gas mask to enjoy it.
Water and sunscreen are a must no matter what time of year you visit Phoenix, and in the springtime the elements can often sneak up on you. Many people do not realize that, while temperatures usually fluctuate between 65 and 79 degrees during this time of year, even the mild spring weather can reach temperatures of 90 degrees and the sun can burn quite quickly through cloud cover.
Summer: Sunny and 100 Degrees
Summer temperatures in Phoenix can climb as high as 120 degrees. The humidity is usually very low which can add to the danger of this heat very quickly. Dehydration can come on you pretty quick if you leave yourself vulnerable. Always drink lots of clean fresh water while you are in Arizona and your vacation will not be interrupted by a visit to the Emergency Room.
It is always advisable to check the morning news before planning your day's events during the summer months in Phoenix; the National Weather Service will actually issue a heat advisory most days during the summer.
This extreme heat should not keep you from visiting Phoenix during the summer months, as there are some really great deals to be found. The Pointe Hilton Squaw Peak is a great place to stay during the summer months. This resort has a water park within the hotel and offers great family packages during the slow summer travel season. The Heard Museum as well as the Arizona Science Center offer indoor site seeing.
Phoenix can be quite pleasant during the spring and winter months, but no matter what time of year you travel to the state you need to be prepared for heat. An innocent March day can climb to an 80-degree temperature very quickly.
The locals call it a "dry heat" for a reason; it is a dessert. The Sonoran Desert. Plan on drinking lots of water, way more water than you could ever imagine. While we do have much transplanted greenery, this beautiful desert city remains just that, a desert. This dry air also contributes to thousands of dollars in damage every year in the form of wildfires. Wildfire season is from about April to October, but a fire can break out just about any time of year, so please do not throw cigarettes out your care window and put out all campfires.
Autumn: Partly Cloudy and 85 Degrees (Could Rain But Won't)
If you travel to Phoenix during the months of September, October, and November you can expect milder temperatures, 75 to 80 degrees, however come prepared to experience a few 90-degree days. These extreme temperatures are always possible.
It is also possible that you may see a few overcast skies and perhaps even a Monsoon. Do not let the term Monsoon scare you out of a visit. This is just a tropical name for a big thunderstorm. Respect a monsoon like any other storm and you will be safe, with the most important rule being do not drive through a flooded street.'
If a street looks like it is holding the least little bit of water, take a detour, and never drive through a barricade. Not only are there steep fines if you get caught, it is extremely dangerous. The ground in Arizona is very hard, so flash flooding can occur just about anywhere when the rain falls faster than the ground can absorb it.
It is important to note that fall and winter nights in Arizona can be quite cold. Even if the temperature climbs to 80 degrees in the day time it can drop as low as 45 degrees in the middle of the night, and while this may not seem that cold it can certainly feel that cold when comparing the two.
Winter: Partly Cloudy and 65 Degrees
Winter temperatures in Phoenix have been known to dip as low as freezing on occasion. The sun usually shines in the winter months, but there are also a few overcast dreary days. Temperatures usually reach around 50 to 60 degrees during the winter months. If you come from a very cold climate you may enjoy outdoor water sports, but to most people it is recommended that you stay in a hotel with an indoor pool. Bring clothing that can be layered if you travel to Phoenix in the wintertime.
Although the temperatures may be cool and cloudy during the winter months, the humidity is always relatively low. Drinks lots of water during any stay in Phoenix.
No matter what time of year you travel to Phoenix, it is always a good idea to check the local news before you leave to cross the valley. Check the traffic reports as well as for any weather advisories. The best way to deal with extremes in temperature is to be prepared for them.