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Old 04-28-2011, 12:33 AM
 
Location: Philadelphia, PA
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I think i want to live in Texas. At least weather-wise. Not sure about culturally. It sounds like Dallas has great weather... sunny, warm, moderate humidity. I hate being cold... especially in the spring and summer, i want to live in a place that is consistently warm and sunny.
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Old 04-28-2011, 05:47 AM
 
Location: Miami, FL
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LordBalfor View Post
Actually SE Arizona gets a LOT of thunderstorms. Roughly half of the years rainfall typically falls during afternoon/evening thunderstorms during the July/August monsoon. That's where those imfamous "desert flash-floods" come in. They are so spectacular that there are even "stormchaser" type tours. You ARE right though that it's much less humid than Miami. In my opinion SE Arizona has one of the best climates in the entire continental US - and NO ONE seems to realize it.

arizona monsoon - Google Search

Ken
Wow I never knew that, I assumed there would not be as much rain since it is much more arid. I think Miami gets more rain in one month than that area gets in a year. Miami thunderstorms are different though, we don't really have that hard rain and hail and stuff, just a soft drizzle of warm water. It actually feels nice. Is Tuscon considered SE Arizona? It seems a bit warmer than Miami, gets to 95 in the summer.
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Old 04-28-2011, 09:41 AM
 
Location: SE Arizona - FINALLY! :D
18,946 posts, read 21,936,951 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Optional Angel View Post
Wow I never knew that, I assumed there would not be as much rain since it is much more arid. I think Miami gets more rain in one month than that area gets in a year. Miami thunderstorms are different though, we don't really have that hard rain and hail and stuff, just a soft drizzle of warm water. It actually feels nice. Is Tuscon considered SE Arizona? It seems a bit warmer than Miami, gets to 95 in the summer.
Yeah you are not alone in your misconceptions. The key to understanding the AZ climate is that it's pretty much all driven by the local elevation. Most folks think that all of AZ is desert - when in fact that's not true at all. Much of AZ is actually forest. Northern AZ has a lot of desert landscape, but there is a huge swath of the state - beginning more or less in the SE corner and swinging up to the NW corner (ie through the center of the state) - that's pine forest. That's because that part of the state is at higher elevation. The Colorado Plateau sits at well over 7,000 feet - this is the plateau the mile-deep Grand Canyon cuts through - and the area atop that plateau is largely forest. Likewise, aside from the plateau itself the state has plenty of other even higher peaks across that general part of the state.

Most folks though, when the think of AZ, are thinking of Southern AZ. This is probably because that's where most of the population lies. Phoenix is a HUGE city that's broad and wide (think something similar to LA) and contains the vast majority of the resident population - and down THERE it IS seriious desert. Not ALL of Southern AZ is pure desert though. The thing to keep in mind about Southern AZ is that there is a general elevation gain as you leave the CA border and head east. This makes sense if you think about it - after all the western border is on the Colorado River just a few miles from it's exit to the sea in Mexico - so it stands to reason it's at very low elevation, while the eastern border on New Mexico is not all that far from the Continental Divide - so that's pretty logically at pretty high elevation. And, when you consider the fact that there is a 3-4 degree temperature drop for every 1,000 feet of gain in elevation, it's clearly going to get cooler the further east you go. The result is that Yuma - by the California, and sitting at a mere 200 feet - is a blast furnace in the summer, while Phoenix - which is a bit further east - is at 1,000 feet (and still really really hot in the summer). By the time you've traveled east another hour & a half to Tucson (more or less the "border" to SE Arizona), the elevation is roughly 2,400 feet and it's BIT cooler (though still hot in the summer). Benson - just shy of an hour east of Tucson on I-10 - is at 3,500 feet and starting to get pretty temperate, while Sierra Vista - which is another 40 minutes east and south and sits at a bit over 4,000 feet has an almost ideal climate. Finally, Bisbee - further east still - is over 5,000 feet or so and even cooler.

With this wide variation in elevation, Southern AZ offers an equally wide variation in climate - especially when you consider that along with the general elevation gain as you head east, there's also the fact that Southern AZ has a whole collection of scattered mountain ranges which go to even higher elevation than the surrounding plains. These various scattered clumps of mountains - known as the Sky Islands - rise to over 8,000 feet and serve as magnets for summer rain clouds, so when the yearly tropical moisture moves up from Mexico in late summer these clumps of mountains tend to form afternoon thunderheads above them (which eventually drift away from the peaks and out over the surrounding plains) - and since the moisture mostly comes from the SE, the SE part of the state tends to form the most of these storms.

Consequently, while Southwest AZ is very very dry and barren (ie the Mohave Desert), as you head further east and the general elevation rises and more and more of the Sky Islands crop up, there is more rain. So, the Sonoran Desert gets more rain than the Mohave and thus is quite a bit greener. While still desert, it's actually pretty "lush" (by desert standards) and relatively green. Tucson is surrounded by very green desert (especially in the foothilss north of town) Take a look at these shots to see what I mean about the Sonoran:

sonoran desert - Google Search

In fact, the Sonoran is considered to be the "greenest" desert on earth - and with only a few more inches of rainfall, would cease to be considered "desert" and instead make the transition to "arid or semi-arid grassland" - and this is what happens as you continue east in Southern AZ - by the time you are near our land (40 minutes east of Tucson) the vegitation begins to look at bit like the African Savanna. Take a look here:

Untitled Document

This part of the state contains an ecosystem called the Apache Highlands Grasslands and some parts (not all) of it are very green. Though rainfall is still sparce compared to Florida, there's enough of it - even in the lowlands - to support lots of grass and a few scattered mesquite trees. It's also quite a bit cooler than the desert areas to the west. This is the reason we chose that part of the state to retire in - it has a very mild climate with (as I mentioned) summer highs in the upper 80's and low 90's and winter highs in the low 60's (though winter lows are chilly - typically in the mid 30's or so). Scroll down to see the climate info here:

http://www.city-data.com/city/Sierra-Vista-Arizona.html

In any event, South-east AZ is undiscovered gem climatewise - with some of the nicest weather in the entire USA. It's very warm in the summer - but not super hot, it gets a decent - but not excessive - amount of rainfall so that it's not barren desert, and it's winters - though chilly at night - are mild enough to generally feel like spring instead of winter. And of course it gets LOTS of sunshine.

All in all, pretty darned nice. Not exactly tropical, but overall pretty mild and generally pleasant.

Ken

PS - here's a few photos I took of the area:

#1) Sonoran Desert outside Tucson - though clearly a desert, it's also pretty clearly quite green.
#2) Santa Cruz county in SE Arizona - again, clearly desert but also pretty green
Attached Thumbnails
Which city or state has the best weather?-sonoran-desert.jpg   Which city or state has the best weather?-santa-cruz-county.jpg  

Last edited by LordBalfor; 04-28-2011 at 10:28 AM..
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Old 04-29-2011, 01:51 PM
 
Location: Miami, FL
780 posts, read 1,431,191 times
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Wow that's interesting, I never knew that. I guess I thought all of Arizona was like SW Arizona or Phoenix. I looked up some videos of thunderstorms in Arizona but they don't look like the ones in Miami. Ours are kind of a slow drizzle with warm water and they only last a few minutes. This might give you an idea.


YouTube - Miami Thunderstorm

YouTube - Miami Thunderstorm
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Old 04-29-2011, 07:15 PM
 
Location: SE Arizona - FINALLY! :D
18,946 posts, read 21,936,951 times
Reputation: 6537
Quote:
Originally Posted by Optional Angel View Post
Wow that's interesting, I never knew that. I guess I thought all of Arizona was like SW Arizona or Phoenix. I looked up some videos of thunderstorms in Arizona but they don't look like the ones in Miami. Ours are kind of a slow drizzle with warm water and they only last a few minutes. This might give you an idea.


YouTube - Miami Thunderstorm

YouTube - Miami Thunderstorm
Yeah, I'm pretty familiar with tropical and semi-tropical weather. Though I've never LIVED anyplace like that, we've traveled quite a bit. I've only spent 5 days in Florida (Orlando - in August), but I've made several trips to Hawaii - totalling about 5 weeks or so and about 6 weeks total in the South Pacific (French Polynesia and the Cook Islands) - with the longest single stay being 3 weeks in the Cooks (2 week on Rarotonga and 1 week on Aitutaki). If you are interested, I've posted tons of photos on Webshots of places like Bora Bora, Rarotonga, Kauai and other tropical delights. You can see them here:

lordbalfor's photos and albums on webshots

Ken
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Old 04-30-2011, 02:51 PM
 
Location: MN
3,755 posts, read 7,897,697 times
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The southernmost city
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Old 05-01-2011, 12:39 AM
 
Location: Jersey Boy living in Florida
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The weather in Tampa is crazy, no wonder why the hockey team is called The Lightning. In the summertime there are these crazy ass storms that last about an hour long around lunchtime and it's nothing but hard rain and crazy lightning everywhere and thunder. But after that hour long storm it clears up again and it's sunny like it was earlier in the day, and even hotter. Miami is like that too in the summer but without as much of the crazy lightning that you get in Tampa, matter fact, most of Florida is like that, tropical weather. I love it though, it keeps everything green.
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Old 05-20-2011, 09:31 AM
 
Location: New River
238 posts, read 291,310 times
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If you can afford it, Santa Barbara CA to me has the best climate year round. Sunny, not too hot, not too cold, not polluted.

If you can afford to live in two places, Flagstaff AZ has gorgeous summers, and Phoenix, AZ has wonderful winters, depending upon what you want to do.

Have not been to Hawaii, but that sounds nice too. A bit isolated for me.

We chose Sedona because it was a compromise between Flagstaff winters and Phoenix summers.

We are considering Colorado Springs at this point. Too hot during July and August for us during the summer since we have to put up with 8 degrees during Dec. and Jan. Might as well move where nicer summers that we can afford.

We were considering north of Santa Barbara near Santa Maria, but I don't think we can afford it at this point. Jury not in.
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Old 05-20-2011, 09:56 AM
 
333 posts, read 670,215 times
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Flagstaff, AZ and Spokane, WA have fabulous weather.
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Old 05-20-2011, 06:57 PM
 
Location: Phoenix
2,176 posts, read 863,527 times
Reputation: 1287
Quote:
Originally Posted by LordBalfor View Post
Yeah you are not alone in your misconceptions. The key to understanding the AZ climate is that it's pretty much all driven by the local elevation. Most folks think that all of AZ is desert - when in fact that's not true at all. Much of AZ is actually forest. Northern AZ has a lot of desert landscape, but there is a huge swath of the state - beginning more or less in the SE corner and swinging up to the NW corner (ie through the center of the state) - that's pine forest. That's because that part of the state is at higher elevation. The Colorado Plateau sits at well over 7,000 feet - this is the plateau the mile-deep Grand Canyon cuts through - and the area atop that plateau is largely forest. Likewise, aside from the plateau itself the state has plenty of other even higher peaks across that general part of the state.

Most folks though, when the think of AZ, are thinking of Southern AZ. This is probably because that's where most of the population lies. Phoenix is a HUGE city that's broad and wide (think something similar to LA) and contains the vast majority of the resident population - and down THERE it IS seriious desert. Not ALL of Southern AZ is pure desert though. The thing to keep in mind about Southern AZ is that there is a general elevation gain as you leave the CA border and head east. This makes sense if you think about it - after all the western border is on the Colorado River just a few miles from it's exit to the sea in Mexico - so it stands to reason it's at very low elevation, while the eastern border on New Mexico is not all that far from the Continental Divide - so that's pretty logically at pretty high elevation. And, when you consider the fact that there is a 3-4 degree temperature drop for every 1,000 feet of gain in elevation, it's clearly going to get cooler the further east you go. The result is that Yuma - by the California, and sitting at a mere 200 feet - is a blast furnace in the summer, while Phoenix - which is a bit further east - is at 1,000 feet (and still really really hot in the summer). By the time you've traveled east another hour & a half to Tucson (more or less the "border" to SE Arizona), the elevation is roughly 2,400 feet and it's BIT cooler (though still hot in the summer). Benson - just shy of an hour east of Tucson on I-10 - is at 3,500 feet and starting to get pretty temperate, while Sierra Vista - which is another 40 minutes east and south and sits at a bit over 4,000 feet has an almost ideal climate. Finally, Bisbee - further east still - is over 5,000 feet or so and even cooler.

With this wide variation in elevation, Southern AZ offers an equally wide variation in climate - especially when you consider that along with the general elevation gain as you head east, there's also the fact that Southern AZ has a whole collection of scattered mountain ranges which go to even higher elevation than the surrounding plains. These various scattered clumps of mountains - known as the Sky Islands - rise to over 8,000 feet and serve as magnets for summer rain clouds, so when the yearly tropical moisture moves up from Mexico in late summer these clumps of mountains tend to form afternoon thunderheads above them (which eventually drift away from the peaks and out over the surrounding plains) - and since the moisture mostly comes from the SE, the SE part of the state tends to form the most of these storms.

Consequently, while Southwest AZ is very very dry and barren (ie the Mohave Desert), as you head further east and the general elevation rises and more and more of the Sky Islands crop up, there is more rain. So, the Sonoran Desert gets more rain than the Mohave and thus is quite a bit greener. While still desert, it's actually pretty "lush" (by desert standards) and relatively green. Tucson is surrounded by very green desert (especially in the foothilss north of town) Take a look at these shots to see what I mean about the Sonoran:

sonoran desert - Google Search

In fact, the Sonoran is considered to be the "greenest" desert on earth - and with only a few more inches of rainfall, would cease to be considered "desert" and instead make the transition to "arid or semi-arid grassland" - and this is what happens as you continue east in Southern AZ - by the time you are near our land (40 minutes east of Tucson) the vegitation begins to look at bit like the African Savanna. Take a look here:

Untitled Document

This part of the state contains an ecosystem called the Apache Highlands Grasslands and some parts (not all) of it are very green. Though rainfall is still sparce compared to Florida, there's enough of it - even in the lowlands - to support lots of grass and a few scattered mesquite trees. It's also quite a bit cooler than the desert areas to the west. This is the reason we chose that part of the state to retire in - it has a very mild climate with (as I mentioned) summer highs in the upper 80's and low 90's and winter highs in the low 60's (though winter lows are chilly - typically in the mid 30's or so). Scroll down to see the climate info here:

http://www.city-data.com/city/Sierra-Vista-Arizona.html

In any event, South-east AZ is undiscovered gem climatewise - with some of the nicest weather in the entire USA. It's very warm in the summer - but not super hot, it gets a decent - but not excessive - amount of rainfall so that it's not barren desert, and it's winters - though chilly at night - are mild enough to generally feel like spring instead of winter. And of course it gets LOTS of sunshine.

All in all, pretty darned nice. Not exactly tropical, but overall pretty mild and generally pleasant.

Ken

PS - here's a few photos I took of the area:

#1) Sonoran Desert outside Tucson - though clearly a desert, it's also pretty clearly quite green.
#2) Santa Cruz county in SE Arizona - again, clearly desert but also pretty green
Great Explanation. Arizona has definitely got some of the best weather and i agree, basically anywhere across the state from 3,000-5,000ft has great weather.
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