Flagstaff’s cold winter climate has kept residents and visitors engaged with outdoor activities this season – from skiing to celebrating New Year with an aluminum pinecone!
Flagstaff is located high in the mountains of Northern Arizona, offering four seasons of adventure and beauty. Autumn welcomes bright blue skies with vibrant ponderosa pine foliage; winter provides snow-covered mountaintops to climb; while spring showcases an explosion of color!
Flagstaff in Arizona stands out as an oasis in its own right. At an elevation of 6,910 ft (2,106 m), it provides its own special climate – snowfall is common, making the city one of the snowiest cities in America and providing intensely cool temperatures that surpass Phoenix by far.
Flagstaff’s snowy season generally begins in December with an average of 7.4 snowfall days and total accumulation of 7.36 inches of snowfall over 28 days, as well as nine hours and 48 minutes of daylight available per day.
February is typically the heaviest snowfall month of the year, averaging an average 34.3-inch accumulation over 6.2 days. But this figure doesn’t fully illustrate its great variability from year to year – some years could reach over 27-inch snowfall while other years might only see 9-inch accumulation.
Arizona Snowbowl Ski Resort lies a few miles up Highway 260 from Downtown and sits atop 12,635-ft Humphreys Peak, where winter storms sweeping across the southwestern desert come crashing together and deposit copious amounts of snowfall. As a result, its 40 trails and 777 skiable acres make this an excellent spot for both advanced and intermediate skiers and snowboarders.
Snowfall in Flagstaff typically begins in December and peaks during January, leaving about an inch of new snow on the ground when it first falls. Heavy snowfall years typically see January bringing 20.4 inches; lighter years see less.
Flagstaff has experienced an extremely snowy winter this year. By Monday morning, total snowfall in 2023 had reached 60.4 inches — enough for it to become the fourth-snowiest January in city history, though far short of 1949’s record 104.8-inch accumulation.
Though Flagstaff experiences cold winters, there’s plenty to do during this season. Snow lovers can ski, snowboard and ice skate at Flagstaff Mountain Resort and other area slopes; Flagstaff also boasts miles of snow-covered hiking trails as well as mountain biking and outdoor rock climbing opportunities. When the temperature drops too far outside your comfort zone, head downtown patios for delicious food and local craft beers!
Flagstaff residents are known for enjoying outdoor activities thanks to its mild climate throughout most of the year. Flagstaff’s mountains and forests provide a stunning setting for hiking, mountain biking, skiing, ice skating and snowboarding – not forgetting its many museums and attractions that cater for every taste!
Flagstaff has already experienced one of its snowiest winters ever based on National Weather Service records dating back to the late 1800s. As of February 21st, snowfall had reached fifth place out of five.
At its height, February snowfall can exceed 27 inches; even during lighter years it typically covers an area greater than 9 inches on average.
Flagstaff experiences its highest rainfall and snowfall during October, December, January and February; an average of 13.8 days of precipitation occurs each month during this timeframe – and 35.2 percent of clouds cover Flagstaff during these four months.
Flagstaff experiences both wet days (rain or snowfall) and dry days, with Autumn seeing 34% raindrops while Winter only 20%.
Flagstaff experiences 83.4 days of rain and snow annually, making it one of the snowiest cities in Arizona. On Christmas Day alone, Flagstaff had an approximate 65% chance of having snow on the ground – this figure compares well with locations across the U.S. however snowfall tends to occur more often in mountainous regions like Mogollon Rim or elsewhere in the high country.
Flagstaff receives an average snowfall each day of the year that varies throughout each season, as shown by this table. Each month’s total snowfall in inches as well as its daily mean temperature are listed here for each month of the year.
Blizzards dumping 10 inches of snow in one day are relatively uncommon; however, snowstorms dumping several inches can happen multiple times each year in Flagstaff with around 0.04 inches falling on average per day.
Flagstaff typically experiences a dry spring. Rainfall tends to increase between September and November with daily chances of precipitation present throughout this timeframe.
Flagstaff experiences a distinct seasonal variance in cloudiness. August and September generally feature the clearest days, with 72% of sky being clear or mostly clear on average; on the contrary, January and February see an average percentage of sky that is cloudy at 64%.
Flagstaff saw its fifth snowiest meteorological winter since records began in the late 1800s in 2022-23, trailing only behind Pulliam Airport which recorded 140.1 inches from July 1 to March 1. If not for one storm early March, 2022-23 winter would have outdone previous years’ totals in terms of snowfall accumulation.