Welcome to my page of quotations about the weather and climate in Arizona (mostly of Phoenix and the warmer areas of the state) — very hot summers, mild winters, and a dry heat. It’s miserable, and also wonderful.
In Arizona we salt margaritas, not sidewalks. ~Local joke
Anything after 115 degrees doesn’t register anyway, so it doesn’t really matter. ~Alice Cooper, interview with Cal Fussman, 2008, for Esquire‘s January 2009 eighth annual Meaning of Life issue
Welcome to Arizona, where summer spends the winter — and hell spends the summer. ~Local saying, modified from a booster slogan in the 1930s
Fort Yuma is probably the hottest place on earth. The thermometer stays at one hundred and twenty in the shade there all the time — except when it varies and goes higher. It is a U. S. military post, and its occupants get so used to the terrific heat that they suffer without it. There is a tradition… that a very, very wicked soldier died there, once, and of course, went straight to the hottest corner of perdition, — and the next day he telegraphed back for his blankets. ~George Derby, quoted in Mark Twain, Roughing It, 1872
I’ll take heat rash over frost bite any day. ~Ken Travous, unverified
In Phoenix summer is
the title, the refrain,
and every other verse.
~Terri Guillemets, “Poems in heat,” 2007
The morning was, like nearly all Arizona mornings, clear and beautiful. ~Edgar Rice Burroughs, A Princess of Mars, 1917
You know you’re from Arizona when you feed your chickens ice cubes to keep them from laying hard-boiled eggs. ~Local joke
The great desert of Arizona… quivering in the heat of the southern sun. ~Mark Daniels, “Mesa Verde and Casa Grande National Parks,” in American Forestry, 1916
You know you’re an Arizona native when you know that dust devils are not fur balls under the bed. ~Norbert Pope, quoted in You Know You’re an Arizona Native, When…, compiled by Don Dedera, 1993
I live in the dry dusty desert
Where we’re always short on water
And even if the sun fell upon us
It couldn’t get any hotter.
~Terri Guillemets, “Dry spell,” 1993
You know you live in Phoenix when the cold-water faucet is hotter than the hot-water faucet. ~Local joke [In summer it’s really true!
You know you live in Phoenix when the four seasons are: tolerable, hot, really hot, and are you freakin’ kidding me?! ~Author unknown
Santa Cruz County… Climatically the region is one of the highly favored districts for which Arizona has already become world famed. One neither roasts, fries, bakes, or frizzles in summer nor freezes, crystallizes, or solidifies in winter. ~George Wharton James, Arizona, the Wonderland, 1917
You know you live in Phoenix when you drive a mile around a parking lot looking for a shady spot — even in the dead of winter. ~Local joke
In Phoenix, shade trees are your best friends — and occasionally the basis of small civil wars over parking. ~Terri Guillemets, “Behind the yucca,” 1992
One hundred sixteen degrees… I live in the Sun Belt… To spell it out for you, I haven’t been able to cross my legs at the knee since the last of May… If any of you has an ounce of charity for your fellow person, you will indulge me while I share with you an Arizona summer. It’s where a woman puts on a pair of oven mitts so she can touch her steering wheel… Where deodorant ads are considered fiction. Where you cultivate fat friends so you’ll always be around shade. ~Erma Bombeck, “An Arizona Summer” (At Wit’s End column), July 1979
When the East and Midwest are suffering through the brutal winters, no one is interested that we are having good weather. It’s depressing and considered bad taste to talk about it. When we are suffering through agonizing heat waves and droughts, no one cares. During the snowstorms last year in the East our papers were filled with stories of sacrifice, hardship, and devastation. During our summer, we get an occasional page-one picture of a blonde with three ounces of clothing on her back… frying an egg on the sidewalk. ~Erma Bombeck, “An Arizona Summer” (At Wit’s End column), July 1979
But at the end of the day, all Phoenicians — no matter if we’re from Iowa, Mexico, or in rare instances, Arizona — can band together and commiserate about the relentless heat and awe in wonder at the storm building on the horizon that occasionally brings magic water from the sky. We’re all in this together. There’s nowhere else we’d rather be. ~Dominic Verstegen, “The Seven Stages of Dealing with Arizona’s Heat,” July 2015
My ENORMOUS thanks to… The staff of the Moore’s Creek Bridge battlefield Visitors’ Center… for explaining to me what an ice-storm is, because they had just had one. We do not have ice-storms in Arizona. ~Diana Gabaldon, “Acknowledgments,” A Breath of Snow and Ashes, 2005
The windmills stare at the sun.
The yellow earth cracks and blisters.
Everything is still.
In the afternoon
The wind takes dry waves of heat and tosses them,
Mingled with dust, up and down the streets…
~John Gould Fletcher (1886–1950), “The Windmills” (Arizona Poems), 1915
And how hot it is! It seems a veritable Sahara, for it is midsummer, and the heat rises from this vast plateau as from a fiery furnace. ~George Wharton James, Arizona, the Wonderland, 1917
Winter in ‘Zona is springtime
Spring is summer askew
Summer is torturous hellfire
Autumn is summer part II
~Terri Guillemets, “Spring sun,” 1993
We rode from daybreak; white and hot
The sun beat like a hammer-stroke
On molten iron; the blistered dust
Rose up in clouds to sere and choke…
~Sharlot Mabridth Hall (1870–1943), “The Trail of Death,” Cactus and Pine: Songs of the Southwest, 1910 [Jornado del Muerto, the desert trail across southern New Mexico and Arizona
By early October, long after the vacations, when it’s still 100, even the gentlest Phoenicians are so tired of the heat that they just want to get into a fight. With anyone. It’s not that any single day of our heat is that bad; it’s certainly better than a bad winter day in the Midwest. The difference is a week after their -20 day, they get a +20 day that feels like summer. Here, every day is 100+ for five months. I transform from a reasonable, caring man to an indecent, offensive neck-puncher… But then all is forgiven on that October morning when you walk outside to a chill in the air (i.e., low in the upper
…face reddened by desert sun-heat… ~Alexander Smith, “Books and Gardens,” Dreamthorp: A Book of Essays Written in the Country, 1863
The climate in winter is incomparably finer than that of Italy. It would scarcely be possible to suggest an improvement… Perhaps fastidious people might object to the temperature in summer, when the rays of the sun attain their maximum force, and the hot winds sweep in from the desert… I have even heard complaint made that the thermometer failed to show the true heat because the mercury dried up. Every thing dries; wagons dry; men dry; chickens dry; there is no juice left in any thing, living or dead, by the close of summer. Officers and soldiers are supposed to walk about creaking; mules, it is said, can only bray at midnight; and I have heard it hinted that the carcasses of cattle rattle inside their hides, and that snakes find a difficulty in bending their bodies.
Each season of adventure reality television gets more challenging. I’m waiting for a Survivor: Phoenix in July edition. ~Terri Guillemets, “Desert, ay, land,” 2006
But it’s a dry heat… ~Arizona saying
Welcome to Arizona, where the heat is sick of the heat. ~Internet meme
In Arizona, we have two types of weather: hot, and a little less hot. ~Internet meme
Phoenix weather alert: There will be a light, gentle breeze accompanied by perfect temperatures and scattered sunshine. Please dress appropriately for these harsh weather conditions. ~Internet meme
Phoenix weather forecast: Just stay inside. ~Internet meme
A hundred and ten in the shade is hot — but you don’t gotta shovel it off your driveway. ~Local saying
They must’ve abbreviated us AZ because we have the entire spectrum of weather extremes: ‘A’blaze in the Phoenix sun to ‘Z’ero-degree snow in Flagstaff. ~Terri Guillemets, “Arizona Alphabet,” 1989
The first 100 degree day provokes sadness, especially if it’s in early April. We wonder why the first settlers decided to make a home here in the Valley, not up in Prescott. Or why didn’t they all settle in California? Did they predict the high taxation and that weird thing where motorcycles whip between lanes on the freeway and scare the bowel movement out of you? ~Dominic Verstegen, “The Seven Stages of Dealing with Arizona’s Heat,” July 2015
The first 110+ degree day, hopefully in June, occasionally in May, always surprises us by reminding us just how hot that is. Like, it hurts to touch things that have been in the sun, including your shirt. ~Dominic Verstegen, “The Seven Stages of Dealing with Arizona’s Heat,” July 2015
Arizona Heat & Weather Quotations
Original post date: 2004 Sep 10
1st major revision: 2016 Apr 26