Does It Snow In Arizona?

Snowfall at Courthouse Butte in Sedona, Arizona.
Snowfall at Courthouse Butte in Sedona, Arizona.

Arizona is the fourteenth most populous and sixth biggest state in the United States which occupies an area of about 113,990 sq miles. It was the last state to gain statehood on February 14, 1912. Arizona is surrounded by Colorado, Mexico, California, Nevada, Utah, and New Mexico. The Mexico-Arizona boundary is about 389 miles long. Due to Arizona’s big area and variations in altitude, the region has a wide assortment of localized climatic conditions. The low altitude areas experience a desert climate with hot summers and mild winters, although northern regions receive snowfall most winters.

Snow in Arizona

Yes, some parts of Arizona receive snowfall. The higher altitude regions of southeastern and northern Arizona receive snow in most winters. The highest peaks in Arizona receive about 100 inches of snow, but it rarely snows in the western and southern lowlands.

Snowiest Places in the State


The city of Flagstaff is one of the snowiest incorporated cities in the US which receives an annual snowfall average of about 100.3 inches. The snow covers the Flagstaff's ground for numerous weeks after a significant winter snowfall because the freezing night temperature refreezes the melting snow. The cold air systems from Canada and other northern American states push into Arizona bringing the temperature of the northern parts of the state to -18°C. The city’s snowiest winter was the 1972-73 season when it received 210 inches of snow cover.


The city of Tucson is the county seat of Pima County and the thirty-third biggest US city. Tucson receives some light dusting during winter which melts within twenty-four hours. The snowfall of February 20, 2013, was the most significant snowfall since 1987. The daytime temperature of the city during winter ranges between 18°C and 24°C.


Phoenix, the capital city of Arizona, has not received a measurable amount of snow since 1990. Snow is rare in the Phoenix, but some areas like the Cave Creek receives some dusting during winter. The heaviest recorded snowfall was the January 21-22, 1937 snowfall event when the city received about 4 inches of snow. Graupel, a type of soft hail, fell in some parts of the city on February 20, 2013, and December 30, 2010, but it was believed to be snow by the residents.

Other Cities

Williams city is situated on the western side of Flagstaff and receives an annual snowfall average of about 73.8 inches. The lowest temperature ever recorded in the city was -32°C in 1937. The Grand Canyon Village gets an average of about 49.5 inches of snow while Payson gets 20.1 inches. Prescott received less than 3 inches of snow during the 2005-06 winter season as compared to the annual average of 12.8 inches. The frontal cloud bands bring rainfall and snowfall with the Bisbee getting an average of 6.3 inches of snow annually.

The Most Dramatic Snowfall in Arizona

The most dramatic snowfall in the history of the state occurred in December 1967 when an 8-day storm covered a considerable part of northern Arizona. It ended on December 21, 1967, and dumped 77 inches of snow in Payson, 86 inches in Flagstaff, 78.3 inches in Crown King, 91.5 inches in Heber and 99 inches in Greer. The snow event resulted in about nine deaths. The snow paralyzed the city of Flagstaff and food was airlifted to the residence of Cochise and Navajo counties.


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