Winter storms have brought snow and ice to northern Arizona, leading to multiple road closures and schools canceling classes.
This page provides details on when it typically snows in Flagstaff and how much of an average accumulation it receives each winter, along with an analysis of when rain and snow can fall during any given month.
March is Flagstaff’s fourth coldest month, with daytime temperatures averaging 9degC and nights dropping as low as -8degC on average – it can still get quite chilly at times so warm clothing will likely be needed when visiting during this month. March also happens to be its third wettest month with around 60mm rain expected across 6 days on average!
March is typically sunny with only 15 cloudy days between 1966 and 1988.
Flagstaff sits at an elevation of 7,000 feet, giving it four distinct seasons – cool summers, golden autumn hues and snowy winters. Its climate is much more temperate than that found in Phoenix and its surroundings; average temperatures tend to be approximately 20-30 degrees Fahrenheit lower here.
Flagstaff rarely sees hot temperatures, with maximum annual temperatures only reaching 89degF in May and October – the remaining months remaining below 80degF daily maximums. Weather in Flagstaff is heavily influenced by monsoon rains from July through September that bring heavy rainfall; during this time average daily highs fall between 60degF to 65degF; dry season temperatures average 59degF with occasional freeze-up days occurring on December days before slowly becoming very cold throughout wintertime.
March is usually Flagstaff’s second wettest month; June sees an average rainfall total of 1.33 inches.
Late last week and into this week, a slow moving trough brought abundant moisture to northern Arizona from late last week until early this week, further compounding an already damp Winter and heightening concerns of impactful flooding. A mix of rain and snowfall allowed existing snowpack to continue growing while lower lying streams, creeks and rivers continued their rapid rise.
Flagstaff experiences cooler temperatures during March, with average maximum daily temperatures averaging around 9degC. On average, this month sees 9 hours of daily sunshine – making March an excellent month to visit Flagstaff!
Calculations using data from three nearby weather stations near Flagstaff utilize records corrected for elevation differences and relative changes present in MERRA-2 satellite-era reanalysis between them, in order to create an estimate of temperature and dew point at Flagstaff from these various sources.
Northern Arizona officials are warning motorists to exercise extreme caution as the snowy winter continues to wreck havoc across their region. Multiple winter storms have created chaos across high country areas and closed some roads due to drifting or blowing snowfall.
The latest storm dumped more than a foot of snow across parts of Arizona. This precipitated a state of emergency in Coconino County and travel advisory from the National Weather Service; multiple highways closed include U.S. 89 between mile markers 35-40 (this list had grown longer). As soon as the winter storm subsided, more highways opened again gradually decreasing this list as time progressed.
Flagstaff is no stranger to winter storms, yet recent storms have taken the city far beyond its typical seasonal snowfall totals. According to the National Weather Service Flagstaff office, this meteorological winter (December 1st to February 28th) has already been one of the snowiest ever seen here.
Snowfall in Flagstaff varies throughout the year, though most commonly occurs between November and March. Major snowstorms of 10 inches or more typically hit six times annually with heavier accumulations typically happening in January and February.
Flagstaff’s wind can vary significantly throughout the year. At times it can be strong while at other times it remains relatively calm. This varies due to topography; particularly the San Francisco Peaks which creates winds which force air upward and often contain moisture which condenses into lenticular clouds that signal approaching storms.
March’s average hourly wind speed was 8.3 mph (16.8 kph). April was the windiest month, averaging 15.7 mph (24.3 kph). Meanwhile, August saw calmest winds at an average hourly wind speed of just 5.6 mph (10.7 kph).
Flagstaff sees fluctuating snowfall throughout the year. Winter typically sees the most snow, with over half of all days expected to see accumulation; summer, meanwhile, typically experiences the lowest amount.
Flagstaff experiences its wettest month with an average monthly precipitation total of 60mm in March, making it an inhospitable place to be visited during that month. Outdoor tourism season in Flagstaff runs between mid-June and late August according to both tourism score and perceived temperature measurements.