As a result of its location in the Sonoran Desert, Phoenix has a hot desert climate and is pretty much sunny all year round. In fact, Phoenix receives the most sunshine of any major city in the world. Despite being dubbed the ‘Valley of the Sun’, Phoenix does actually have four seasons although the transition between them is rather subtle. Most importantly though, new arrivals moving to Phoenix will need to prepare for a climate that consists of extremely hot and humid summers and mild winters.
In the summer, temperatures reach up to 110°F (43°C) with average temperatures hovering around 100°F (38°C). Unlike most desert locations which experience drastic temperature fluctuations between day and night, evening temperatures do not drop that noticeably in Phoenix because of the urban heat island effect. Although rainfall is minimal throughout the year, the North American monsoon does bring with it increased humidity levels during the summer months – this increase in humidity can also contribute to flash floods, destructive winds and dust storms.
Phoenix is based within Maricopa County which is reported to have one of the highest ozone pollution levels in the USA. As ozone is formed in sunny climates, Phoenix is particularly susceptible to this problem. As the city continues to grow and car usage becomes more prevalent, vehicle emissions further contribute to increased pollution levels. Newcomers are warned that people with respiratory conditions may struggle with the poor air quality in the city.
Although the surrounding mountain tops may receive a dusting of snow, winters in Phoenix are really pleasant with temperatures averaging 54°F (12°C). While it might be time to get those sweaters out, there is rarely a need for a real winter jacket in Phoenix. Newcomers will come to relish the winter months, as not only do they bring cooler weather, but also clearer air and bright blue skies.
►For a list of annual events spanning all the seasons check out our What's On in Phoenix page
Are you an expat living in Phoenix?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Phoenix. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
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