Are there tornadoes in Arizona?

 It’s not a question I’m asked very often, but it is the start of the discussion regarding natural disasters and weather concerns from those considering relocating to the Phoenix area.

Our biggest climate concern? THE HEAT, followed by monsoon storms that can generate occasional high winds, dust storms and intense localized rainfall. The closest we get to a tornado are microbursts which accompany the monsoon storms.  The monsoon season runs from July through August.

I dislike comparing our weather to other cities and states during the summer when it’s 115 degrees in Phoenix. And throwing out the cliche, “but it’s a dry heat” just doesn’t quite convince them.  But the tables are turned when I have the conversation with someone in Minnesota in early January. At the end of the day it comes down to the phrase I heard years ago, ” You have to pick your poison.”

If you can tolerate the heat for 4 months and don’t mind giving up the below zero temperatures in Minnesota or Wisconsin or the humidity in the mid-west and south, or the earthquakes in California, hurricanes in Florida, or never seeing the sun in Washington state, then Arizona just might work for you!

How safe is Phoenix from natural disasters?

For years, AIR Worldwide Corp., a Boson based catastrophe modeling firm, has been researching cities and ranking them based on models evaluating the risk of hurricane, earthquake, severe thunderstorm, winter storm, and terrorism. Phoenix and the surrounding cities consistently place in the top 10 as the safest.  In 2006, Phoenix ranked number two.

If someone really misses the snow and freezing temperatures, a quick 2 hour drive from Phoenix past Payson to the Mogollon Rim will satisfy that craving. My son’s scout troop went snow camping in January this year.  We knew it was cold when we needed a gallon of gasoline to start the fire, not very scout-like! Everyone retired to their tents around 8 p.m. in an attempt to keep warm in our sleeping bags which were sandwiches in between layers of blankets.  We woke up to 24 degrees and a wind chill of below zero.  An accelerated exercise in packing and we were on the road to Payson to find a McDonald’s for breakfast, and then back to the 65 degree weather back home.  The snow camping event has become an annual tradition and serves as a reminder of why I really like Phoenix.

3 Replies to “Are there tornadoes in Arizona?”

  1. Hey arizona has gotten actual tornadoes before.just go to any offical site and look.

  2. It is rare but possible. When low based, sheared, severe thunderstorms tear across the southwest there is a possibility of tornadoes. More likely in southern california due to microclimates. AZ gets more high based thunderstorms then lowbased which drops the possibility of tornados right there.

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