Phoenix’s Mixed Up Weather


In Arizona, there are typically two seasons: Spring and Summer. It sounds nice, but living without four seasons makes me long for them. When I say Spring and Summer, I’m talking about what it FEELS like. Winter in Phoenix feels like Spring in the “normal” parts of the country. The summers here can only be compared to the Middle East.

The weather here is so mixed up, it got me to wondering how the climate compares to other parts of the world. With only two seasons in Arizona, what does our Spring and Summer feel like during different times of the year in other areas? For this weather-related article, I’m focusing on Phoenix because it’s the most populated metropolitan area in Arizona. There are indeed areas in Arizona hotter than Phoenix, but I wanted to use Phoenix to compare its weather to other parts of the country.

Since the climate in Arizona is difficult to describe unless you’ve experienced it, let’s compare Phoenix’s weather to places you may be familiar with. (Source: weather.com)

How does the weather in Phoenix compare to New York City?Phoenix vs New York City

Let’s compare Phoenix and New York City and see what happens!

During Christmas and New Year’s in Phoenix, the average December high temperature is 65° and the average January high temperature is 66°. In comparison, NYC’s April is 62° and their October is 65° while celebrating Easter and Halloween. The Phoenix holiday season would feel like Spring and Fall to a New Yorker.

What about Spring time in Phoenix? Phoenix’s average high temperature in April is 84°. In comparison, New Yorkers are celebrating Independence Day in the same weather with an average high of 85°. To a New Yorker, Spring in Phoenix feels like the hottest part of their summer!

Phoenix’s average low temperature in July is 76°,  while NYC’s average high is 79° during the same month.

The results:

  • Phoenix winter = NYC spring and fall,
  • Phoenix spring = NYC summer,
  • Phoenix July nights = NYC July daytime temperatures

How does the weather in Phoenix compare to Atlanta?Phoenix vs Atlanta

Let’s head to the southeast for a milder climate and see how Phoenix compares with Atlanta!

During winter in Phoenix, the average high temperature in January is 66°. The month with the closest comparable average high in Atlanta is March at 65°. A Southern transplant in Phoenix would think of a Phoenix winter as their native Spring!

Phoenix’s spring time average high temperature is 84° during April. Atlanta’s months with similar temperatures are in  May (80°) and June (85°). The Phoenix Spring feels like the onset of Summer to a good ‘ole boy from Georgia!

Phoenix’s average low temperature in July is 76°, while Atlanta’s average high temperature is 80° in May.

The results:

  • Phoenix winter = Atlanta spring,
  • Phoenix spring = Atlanta spring & early summer,
  • Phoenix July nights = Atlanta’s May daytime temperatures

How does the weather in Arizona compare to Minnesota?Phoenix vs. Minneapolis

Minneapolis is Phoenix on opposite-day!  On opposite day, I love Arizona and will never leave! When opposite day is over, I go back to hating life in Arizona!

While Phoenix is known for the heat, Minneapolis is known for its extreme cold. I was just curious to see how our arctic friends compare!

During winter in Phoenix, the average high temperature in January is 66°.  Up in Minneapolis,  May feels like Phoenix’s January with an average high of 69°. Phoenix’s spring time average high temperature in April is 84°, which feels like July in Minneapolis with their average high also at 84°. Easter in Phoenix feels like the Fourth of July in Minneapolis!

Phoenix’s average low in July is 76°, while the average high in July is 79° in Minneapolis.

The results:

  • Phoenix winter = Minneapolis spring,
  • Phoenix spring = Minneapolis  summer,
  • Phoenix July nights = Minneapolis July daytime temperatures

How does the weather in Phoenix compare to Iraq's temperatures?Phoenix vs. Baghdad, Iraq

Phoenix is impossible to compare to other well-known parts of the country due to the extreme heat. Let’s compare an American desolate desert to a Middle Eastern desolate desert! What the heck, right? U-S-A! U-S-A!


In the winter time Phoenix’s average January high temperature is 66°, which feels like Baghdad’s March with an average high temperature at 62°! Phoenix’s spring time April  average high temperature is 84°. Baghdad HAS to be hotter in the Spring, right? Nope, Baghdad doesn’t reach these average highs until May with their average high at 82°.

In Baghdad, there are typically 179 days over 90°, while Phoenix trails close behind with 167 days! Phoenix and Baghdad are tied at 122 days of what are considered extreme high temps. Sorry, I don’t know what the meteorological society considers “extreme high temperatures”, but I’m guessing they think of over 100° as extreme.

The results:

  • Phoenix winter is HOTTER than Baghdad’s spring,
  • Phoenix spring = May in Baghdad,
  • Phoenix has nearly as many days over 90° in a year.
  • Phoenix and Baghdad both have 122 days of extreme high temperatures per year

Hot Temperatures in Phoenix

The above chart is a graphical representation of the average highs and lows in Phoenix. You can use this website to compare the weather between cities.

Ever since moving here, I knew something wasn’t right with the weather. At first, it’s nice being able to eat Thanksgiving dinner on the patio and to wear shorts while Christmas shopping! When you’re not used to the weather, it’s unique and it feels really nice!

Yes, the winters in Phoenix are nice, and that is why we get so many winter visitors (AKA “snow birds”). After a while, it becomes apparent there are only two seasons in Phoenix. It’s either warm or hot…nothing else. It may get chilly every once in a while, but not real cold.

People who move to Phoenix from “normal areas” of the country eventually realize there are no natural indicators for telling what season it is. When the leaves fall and it gets chilly outside, you know Halloween and Thanksgiving are coming! Drinking hot cocoa for the sake of keeping warm! Christmas shopping wearing a coat and gloves! That is normal! In Arizona, the only way you can tell it’s changing seasons is the “seasonal isle” at Walgreens and Wal-Mart.

As always, I’m not trying to convince anyone toward my point of view. There are some who love this weather and will never leave Arizona. As for me, I miss four seasons. I love waking up and seeing a fresh layer of snow. I love the beautiful fall colors. I like having a nice fire in the fireplace. I like looking forward to summer, not dreading it. I’ve been away too long, and I miss my home sweet home.

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