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Old 03-28-2010, 02:57 PM
 
Location: Outside of Los Angeles
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Hello,

I am actually wondering just out of curiosity how do the winters in Tucson compare to winters in Los Angeles where I am currently living? What is the lowest temperature Tucson usually gets compared to most of L.A.? Is it usually colder or about the same? I've heard Tucson gets snow. But snowfall never happens in L.A. I do know that because Tucson is in a desert type area that winters should be colder. Is that right?
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Old 03-28-2010, 04:00 PM
 
Location: St. Louis, MO
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Default Tucson vs. Los Angeles winters

I'm a weather geek who used to live in L.A. and currently live in St. Louis, MO. I want to relocate to Tucson in a couple of years, so have been observing the climate there for a while now. I was in Tucson for about 10 days this past January, and the weather was delightful, even the rain that fell at the end of my stay.

Both L.A. and Tucson have very mild winters, though L.A., being close to the Pacific Ocean, tends to have less extremes than Tucson. The average high and low in L.A. in January are about 68/48, while Tucson's is 65/39, thus Tucson tends to be a bit cooler than L.A. on average in winter. Both cities occasionally get very warm days in the 80s during winter (although that didn't happen during this cooler than normal winter). Tucson's nighttime temperatures are significantly lower than L.A.'s due to its much lower humidity and higher elevation (2,500 ft). Consequently, Tucson occasionally has nighttime lows below freezing, the coldest readings of the year generally being about 26 or 27 degrees, whereas L.A. proper almost never experiences a freeze. Of course, some of the outlying areas like Riverside, San Bernardino or parts of the San Fernando Valley can get down to freezing once or twice during winter, due to being farther from the ocean.

Tucson is also much drier than L.A.; the three winter months of December, January & February collectively average about 3 inches of rain, whereas L.A. gets about 9 inches. Of course, rainfall can vary widely year to year. Last winter was much drier than average in both cities, whereas this winter has been much wetter than average.

To me, the most striking difference between Tucson and L.A. is the air quality. Tucson generally has very clear skies, whereas L.A. gets many hazy days, which can occur during all seasons.
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Old 03-28-2010, 08:28 PM
 
Location: 602/520
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Imagine winter in Tucson as having similar high temperatures to Los Angeles and low temperatures a few degrees higher than you would experience in Palmdale and Lancaster.

I fully agree with Jayfurry. Tucson tends to experience a wider range of temperatures than Los Angeles. Whenever a Pacific storm moves in Los Angeles' highs there may be around 60, when Tucson gets the storm a day later our highs may only be in the low to mid 50s. Also, usually the nights after Pacific storms leave the area the temperature frequently falls pretty low, with an occasional hard freeze. Our coldest temperatures tend to bottom out between 25-29 degrees in an average winter. However, as recently as 2006 or 2007 the mecury dropped all the way down to 19 degrees one morning. Conversely, in 2002 or 2003 Tucson actually went the entire winter season without a freeze.

Los Angeles also tends to get significantly more rain from Pacific storms that Tucson. There you guys seem to have to deal with mudslides, rockslides, and flash floods. Our dry arroyos will run during storms here, but mudslides and flash floods displacing people from their homes are almost unheard of.

Lastly, snow is uncommon in Tucson. It is definitely not unheard of, don't get me wrong, but do not expect snow in Tucson every winter. If it does snow here, most times it melts immediately. If it lasts until sunrise, it is gone in an hour or two.

Phoenix's winters are much more in line with Los Angeles' winters. Phoenix lowest temperature this winter (41 degrees) was higher than the lowest temperature at LAX this winter (39 degrees). They have only had 2 or 3 light freezes (31-32 degrees) in the past decade. Most winter days the weather there seems almost identical to LA's.
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Old 03-28-2010, 10:26 PM
 
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both the above posters summarize it very well.....

I'll add that LA temps vary greatly depending how far you are from the coast....it probably rains a lot more in LA than Phx/Tuc.....we get snow (that sticks) in the Tucson basin about once every ten years and it melts by noon or so....it may snow and not stick about once every three or four years....it's always cold-feeling here at night in the winters, but warms quickly in the AM (if it's sunny) due to the low humidity....big diff between sunny areas and shady areas in the winter....I'll bet that LA feels warmer in the nighttime and cooler in the daytime than Tucson on a typical winter day
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Old 03-28-2010, 11:39 PM
 
Location: Chemnitz, Germany
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I visit Tucson many times a year to visit my mother, and usually have several visits during the cool season. She used to live in Oro Valley on the north side of the metro area, which is at a bit higher elevation (2800' or so) compared to much of Tucson (2300' or so).

Here in Orange County, our climate is usually very similar to much of the LA area, within just a few degrees. Tucson in the winter season can frequently have a string of night temperatures in the mid or upper 20s. Low 30s is very common in December to February. When I was there for 5 days in mid March, the sunrise temps were around 40 or low 40s, and warmed up quickly during the morning. Tucson can also get cold dry winds that really make your skin feel dry if you are accustomed to the more comfortable level of 50 to 60 percent humidity that we have much of the time in the coastal southern cal area.
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Old 03-29-2010, 09:05 AM
 
Location: Tucson
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Quote:
Originally Posted by recycled View Post
Tucson in the winter season can frequently have a string of night temperatures in the mid or upper 20s.
This is actually extremely rare. I'm not sure about LA, but I've spent a winter in OC (inland) and I don't think it's very different.
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Old 03-29-2010, 02:21 PM
 
Location: Outside of Los Angeles
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The coldest temperature I have ever experienced here in L.A. is 35 degrees. Last winter it got down to 37. I would say usually the lowest temperature that it gets down to would be somewhere between 37-39 degrees. I don't live in the coastal areas by the way. The thing is that there is this huge misconception that Los Angeles is always warm all year. No it isn't because in December and January temperatures tend to be in the 50s and 60s. We may get an occasional 70+ degree day here and there. All things considered, L.A. winters are nothing to be scared of. They are usually a piece of cake for me. I think of L.A. as mild, but it is certainly not warm all 12 months of the year. I remember that on February 1 2009 it was 81 degrees and then the next day it dropped to 65 degrees. The temperatures in L.A. can change, don't be fooled by this. All the research I've done so far to this point suggests that Tucson is colder than L.A. in the winter time and lows in the 20s do make things a bit more interesting
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Old 03-29-2010, 02:46 PM
 
Location: Tucson
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AliveandWell View Post
lows in the 20s do make things a bit more interesting
These lows happen for a night or two in the winter and not every winter. This winter the temps never got below 32, perhaps even 34-35.
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Old 03-30-2010, 01:00 PM
 
Location: Outside of Los Angeles
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sierraAZ View Post
These lows happen for a night or two in the winter and not every winter. This winter the temps never got below 32, perhaps even 34-35.
Interesting. I would think that Tucson would get lower temperatures than Phoenix in winter based on its higher elevation, Tucson should have more overnight lows around 30F am I right? the lowest temperature I ever heard of in the L.A. area was when one night a few years ago the low dropped to about 33F in Woodland Hills. The thing is since Tucson is in the semi arid climate classification, its almost a for sure thing that Tucson will be cooler.
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