Flagstaff is a city in Northern Arizona sandwiched between the San Francisco Mountains and the Sonoran Desert. The city sits at an elevation of 7,000 feet (2,100 metres) and covers an area of 171.13 square kilometres. With a population of 77,590, Flagstaff ranks as the 16th most populous city in Arizona. But does it snow in Flagstaff, Arizona?
Flagstaff experiences an arid and semi-arid climate that is characterized by freezing winters and warm summers. Flagstaff experiences freezing temperatures that never rise beyond 40 degrees Fahrenheit (4 degrees Celsius) throughout the winter period. And given such chilly conditions, it is no surprise that snow is a constant feature in Flagstaff during winter.
When does it snow in Flagstaff?
Heavy snowfall pelts Flagstaff during the winter season, running from early December to late February. But being one of the snowiest cities in the United States, Flagstaff reports its first sighting of snow as early as October, with the last coming in May.
Throughout the year, Flagstaff receives snow for 33.9 snowfall days and usually aggregates up to a depth of 103.6 inches (2,631 millimetres) of snow. However, this value can go up, as witnessed in the 1972-73 winter when the city recorded a massive 210 inches (5,334 millimetres).
Snowfall in October
October is an autumn month in Flagstaff, and temperatures in the city are moderately warm. The average daily temperatures during the month range from highs of 63.5 degrees Fahrenheit (17.5 degrees Celsius) to lows of 41.7 degrees Fahrenheit (5.4 degrees Celsius).
Despite the seemingly warm temperatures, Flagstaff still records a snow accumulation of 1.34 inches (34 millimetres) after 0.8 snowfall days.
Snowfall in November
November marks the last month of autumn in Flagstaff. Since the city is preparing to transition into the winter, there is a drop in daily temperatures. In November, the average daily temperatures recorded in the city range from highs of 53.1 degrees Fahrenheit (11.7 degrees Celsius) to chilly lows of 32.2 degrees Fahrenheit (0.1 degrees Celsius).
There is a significant increase in the amount of snowfall in the city compared to values recorded in October. Flagstaff records snowfall for 2.5 days throughout the month, and the snow cover can accumulate up to a depth of 2.6 inches (66 millimetres).
Snowfall in December
December is the first month of winter in Flagstaff. And as expected, daily average temperatures are lower than those recorded in November. Temperatures in the city now range between highs of 42.6 degrees Fahrenheit (5.9 degrees Celsius) and lows of 24.8 degrees Fahrenheit (-4 degrees Celsius), making December one of the city’s coldest months.
December is also the snowiest month in the city, with a record 7.4 snowfall days and a total snow accumulation of 7.36 inches (187 millimetres).
Snowfall in January
January is another cold winter month in Flagstaff, with temperatures frequently dipping below freezing point. The daily average temperatures recorded in the city in January fluctuate between highs of 42.6 degrees Fahrenheit (5.9 degrees Celsius) to lows of 25.2 degrees Fahrenheit (-3.8 degrees Celsius).
Throughout the month, Flagstaff records snowfall for 6.1 days, and the snow can accumulate up to a depth of 4.65 inches (118 millimetres).
Snowfall in February
February marks the end of the winter season in Flagstaff. However, the chilly conditions in the city and the snow persist for another two months. In February, the daily average temperatures range between highs of 45.5 degrees Fahrenheit (7.5 degrees Celsius) to lows of 27.1 degrees Fahrenheit (-2.7 degrees Celsius).
In February, Flagstaff records a snow accumulation of 5.94 inches (151 millimetres) after 6.2 snowfall days.
Ski Resorts in Flagstaff
Given that Flagstaff is one of the snowiest cities in Arizona and the United States at large, many skiing and snowboarding enthusiasts would expect it to have a developed skiing scenery. And indeed, Flagstaff doesn’t disappoint with a ski resort located in the nearby mountains.
Arizona Snowbowl Ski Resort
Arizona Snowbowl is a ski resort located about seven miles from Flagstaff. The ski resort is within the Coconino National Forest and is perched between elevations 2,804 and 3,505 metres. Arizona Snowbowl receives an average of 260 inches (6,604 millimetres) of snow annually. It also has a snowmaking machine that uses water drawn from Flagstaff to make snow when natural snow cover is insufficient.
The resort has 37 kilometres of skiable slope that cater to the needs of different skiing difficulty levels and is served by six ski lifts.
Flagstaff Nordic Centre
The Flagstaff Nordic Centre is a cross country skiing centre located 15 miles north of downtown Flagstaff. The centre has over 40 kilometres of trails available for sledging and cross country skiing.