We’re reminded that Flagstaff is a great place to live during a week like this.
We love to call Flagstaff home when we look at the national weather news in a week like this. High temperatures this first week of January in Flagstaff are near 50 degrees. Part of the allure of Flagstaff is the climate — moderate winters and moderate summers. Even after a significant winter storm and snowfall here in Flagstaff, afternoon highs can be 45 degrees. Major streets may be slushy for a day, then clean and completely dry in two or three days as the moisture evaporates in our dry climate.
Flagstaff weather differs greatly from Phoenix because Flagstaff sits at 7000 feet elevation, one mile above Phoenix. Due to the elevation, Flagstaff is typically 20 to 25 degrees cooler than Phoenix on any given day all year round. Unlike Phoenix, Flagstaff has four distinct seasons. There’s something to enjoy about each one.
The official average high temperature for the month of November is 50 degrees; for December and January, both 43 degrees; for February, 45 degrees; and for March, 50 degrees. As with home sale prices, averages are misleading and the fact that nearly every day is sunny in Flagstaff makes it seem warmer to an old Midwesterner like me. This is not to say we don’t have colder temperatures and some winter extremes from time to time. The average overnight low in January is 17 degrees, but the sun swings the temperature in quite a range.
With that said, Flagstaff is a prime destination in Arizona for snow play and skiing on the towering San Francisco Peaks, which are several thousand feet higher than the city itself. The temperatures in the mountains above Flagstaff maintain the snow at Arizona Snowbowl, and at the Flagstaff Nordic Center when it may be dry and snowless in the city.
There is snow to be dealt with; nonetheless, people move to Flagstaff from the country’s more severe climates in order to enjoy the moderate temperatures and the very few winter snowstorms. The trade-off for putting up with a bit of (what really is lovely) snow is coming up….
Summers in Flagstaff are the prize, with an average maximum temperature in July of 82°F. Typically, only four days in the entire summer have a maximum temperature of 90°F or higher. Nights are cool, in the sixties, making air-conditioning in homes rare. In contrast, Phoenix averages 92 days per year with a high temperature above 100 degrees. That’s the picture most people have of Arizona weather. Fewer people know about Flagstaff’s fantastic climate.
Flagstaff’s rainy season generally arrives in early July – the Southwest United States monsoon season. Truly a beautiful time! Temperatures fall in the afternoons from their late morning highs as cooling rains roll in. The storms clear away by evening, allowing for unfettered outdoor enjoyment.
Autumn in Flagstaff is marked by crisp overnight temperatures, sometimes beginning by late summer, harkening the coming of cooler days and vibrant colors on the mountainsides and in the forests. Warm afternoons still prevail – perfect for enjoying our varied landscapes.
Flagstaff’s year-round climate creates an outdoor recreation paradise for all kinds of activities such as hiking, camping, golfing, mountain climbing, four-wheeling, hunting, horseback riding, mountain biking, snowshoeing, skiing, and snowboarding. If you need to escape some of those winter days, Sedona is less than an hour away, but over 2000 feet lower, creating a 10-15 degree temperature difference – golf and hike all year!