Northern Arizonans are eagerly awaiting relief from an intensely snowy winter, as per reports by the National Weather Service Flagstaff Pulliam Airport of accumulations reaching record levels.
This chart depicts the likelihood that any given day will experience rain alone, snow alone, or both at once. Wet days occur for 9.9 months of the year with most occurring during August.
1. Winter Season
Flagstaff becomes an idyllic winter wonderland during the winter season, covered by snow-dusted mountains and surrounding ponderosa forests adorned with even more. Winter enthusiasts from across the nation flock to Flagstaff during this magical time for skiing, snowboarding, sledding, and other winter activities.
Snowfall at the National Weather Service Flagstaff office is measured in inches. It’s important to distinguish between snowfall and depth; snowfall measures how much actual snow fell on any given day while depth measures how much is currently covering the ground.
On average, the city experiences snow for six to eight months per year, typically January through March; four months (from April through October) go without snowfall; February usually receives the highest average monthly snowfall at 7.33 inches.
Be it heading out for hot chocolate or skiing and snowboarding in the region, always dress in layers, take plenty of warm clothing and gear, travel with a full tank of gas and extra water, allow extra travel time due to road conditions and be ready to stop to let other drivers pass.
Hydrate frequently when spending time outside in winter, particularly if children are engaged in winter sports activities. Kids burn up energy playing in the snow, so having snacks handy to fuel their play will be helpful in staying fueled up for success.
Flagstaff sits 7000 feet above sea level and is more than just the closest city to Grand Canyon National Park or home for Northern Arizona University; it’s also an inviting alpine destination that draws outdoor enthusiasts while providing an inspiring lifestyle that prioritizes family, community, work and play balance.
Winter brings with it many exciting snowy adventures, from sledding hills and snow tubing to world-class downhill skiing at Arizona Snowbowl and Sunrise Park Resort. Ski season typically runs from November through April.
Snowfall also changes the cityscape, adding charm and adding depth. Daily snowfall of 10 inches or more is rare, while major blizzards may happen several times annually.
At its heart lies a unique topography blending high desert climate with towering ponderosa pine forests and mountain peaks – perfect for hiking, mountain biking, camping and ice climbing! Humphreys Peak, Arizona’s highest natural point, can be found here and this town serves as gateway to them as well. Additionally, hiking enthusiasts and mountain bikers flock here; plus there are nearby attractions such as Lava Tubes, Grand Falls and Wupatki National Monument offering Native American pueblo sites and cliff dwellings as well celestial observation with Lowell Observatory right in town! After exploring all this beauty don’t forget to head downtown afterwards for dining and craft beer- it won’t get any better!
Flagstaff enjoys a true four-season climate, unlike Phoenix or Tucson which seldom experience rain. Summers can be particularly hot and dry; forest fire risk increases until monsoon rains arrive during late summer to dampen things down slightly.
Annual precipitation measurements taken daily at Flagstaff airport are combined and then adjusted for elevation changes between there and Flagstaff city to account for differences in climateological norms.
December is typically the heaviest month for total snowfall, with one out of every four years seeing more than 27 inches fall during that month. January and February follow closely behind, each having at least 10-3 inch accumulation in just one month.
Annual sunshine is calculated based on the total number of days with at least some trace of sunlight (including moonlight). December 21 has the shortest day with 9 hours, 47 minutes of daylight while June 21 boasts 14 hours, 32 minutes.
Humidity comfort as measured by dew point can vary widely throughout the year, from 24% in June to 66% in January. Sunshine days tend to remain consistent from an average 9.8 in December up to 11.4 during July and August.
Fall snowfall can be quite frequent; however, not as frequently as in winter and spring. The first snow of the season typically falls around October or November (about one third of Novembers will remain snowfree), while its final appearance usually occurs sometime around April.
Heavy snowfall typically falls in December, January, and February. On average, one out of every four years experience December snowfall exceeding 27 inches; however, most years only see 9-12 inches added by February or later.
Heavy snowfall earlier this month led to road closures throughout the city and cancellation of non-essential services by Coconino Community College and University of Northern Arizona, among other schools. Additionally, Coconino Community College delayed opening their classes by two hours on Thursday morning before closing for two more hours until classes resumed.
The city uses both salt and cinders to remove snow and ice from its streets, with cinders being applied at major hills, signalized intersections, railroad crossings, shaded areas, problem areas and stop signs. They should not be applied on residential roads due to risk of them being pushed into snow piles, crushed or blowing off roadways; additionally plows and salt brine are sometimes utilized by city crews on some roadways.