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Destination Arizona: Weather

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Cooper: Okay, let’s talk about the weather. Here in Arizona, people, I guess the number one question you get asked, I’ve been here for 10 years now, is how do you survive the summers. What do you say, you were born and raised here Joseph, what do you say to people when they ask you how do you survive the summers?

Joseph: Well, that’s a loaded question Ryan. I mean there’s a lot to it. Obviously, is it hot, yes, it’s hot. What I tell people is, look if you can survive your first summer, all the other summers are much easier. It’s just that first summer is the most difficult.

Cooper: And what’s to this dry heat we hear about? Is that a summer element or is that a winter?

Joseph: No, you know, it’s funny that you say that because I think that’s a phrase we hear a lot, is we have a dry heat and I can say for the month of June, yes, it is a dry heat. Very, very low humidity.

Cooper: That changes doesn’t it when you get into July and August when the monsoon season comes.

Joseph: It does, yes. Then it becomes humid and it becomes a little bit more stickier. I would definitely say it’s not as humid as in California or definitely not as humid as Florida but the humidity does pick up.

Cooper: Okay, let’s go back to June, what’s hot?

Joseph: So I always tell my clients, I try to get out the last two weeks of June because in my opinion with my experience the last two weeks of June are the absolute hottest days of the year. I mean we’re in the teens, we’re there for a good solid two weeks.

Cooper: And to me it’s my favorite time of year. (Joseph laughs) I love the dry, the hotter the better, the dryer the better and that changes. So for me I like to get out of the state for at least a week or so in July and August because along with that heat where you’re still, you might not be pushing the teens but you’re creeping up on 110 sometimes and you’re certainly in the 105 range pretty much July and August.

Joseph: Yep, that’s correct, yeah, I would agree with that.

Cooper: Accompany that with a higher humidity, let’s be clear, it’s a higher humidity compared to June, but compared to other parts of the country is relatively low, I’m from the Midwest.

Joseph: Oh yeah, we’re never going to experience that type of humidity unless we just had a downpour from a monsoon storm.

Cooper: Right, it’s just when you’re up at a 107 a 25% to 30% humidity is, I mean, you feel that, it’s heavy.

Joseph: Oh, absolutely and it starts getting a little sticky. But, like I said, it’s nothing comparable to even California or definitely even not like Texas or the Midwest or Florida. Or even up and down the East Coast for that matter.

Cooper: Monsoons. The monsoon season I should say. The season begins on June 15th and ends on September 30th. It usually peaks mid-July and mid-August on average about half of Arizona receives, like I said, about half of its annual rainfall during that time.

Joseph: Sounds about right.

Cooper: Which is, roughly twelve and a half inches of rain per year.

Joseph: That’s what makes us a desert, right?

Cooper: Okay, let’s talk about haboobs. It’s a funny name. Um, it’s what I’ve known since I’ve been here. I moved here in 2009 and in 2011 I experienced what I call a traumatic event. It was about mid-afternoon and this giant wall of dust circulating horizontally moved through the valley. Clear skies, so you can see the blue sky being interrupted by this dark plague, it looked like the world was ending. (Joseph laughs) I ran inside video taped, started researching and the word I found was haboob. Talking to you earlier, you had not heard of that word up until a few years.

Joseph: Yeah, you know, like I said before, I’m born and raised out here and I didn’t hear this word haboob until maybe seven, eight years ago.

Cooper: Yeah, for the new people, they’re looking it up and Wikipedia talks about downbursts and they travel opposite of the storm coming and usually with a haboob you’re going to get the dust that comes through and its typically followed by some sort of rain. It can be scary if you’ve never experienced it before. If you’re from the Midwest its very similar to a white-out blizzard situation.

Joseph: I will say this, that if you look up the definition of what a monsoon storm is versus what a haboob is. Yes, haboob is probably a more accurate description. So typically you’ll see this massive wall of dust moving towards your direction and it eventually just engulfs the whole, entire city.

Cooper: And if you’re out driving this can be an issue. It’s not great for your cars. People can’t see so a lot of times freeway traffic will stop and people will just pull over. For the most part, to me, it’s pretty, it’s really overblown by the media.

Joseph: I agree, it’s completely sensationalized, but, I mean, you do bring up a good point, like, what should you do if you happen to get stuck in a haboob or a monsoon storm? And this is a big mistake that a lot of folks make is, they will pull off the side of the road and they will turn on their blinkers.

Cooper: Yeah, that’s a big No-No.

Joseph: That is a huge no-no, because a lot of people will just end up following you and then eventually rear-end you.

Cooper: Yeah, I think in a lot of cases actually they recommend turning your lights off. Because cars will follow you, they don’t know that you’re stopped. Their depth perception is off. It’s a similar rule in the midwest with winter storms.

Joseph: Okay, I guess the big thing is, you know, the media does sensationalize things and there’s some great pictures of the city being engulfed in this massive wall of dust.

Cooper: Yeah, like a movie scene.

Joseph: Yeah, exactly. I would say this, if you are caught in one, get indoors.

Cooper: Yeah, that’s great advice. It’s not something you want to be out in.

Joseph: No, because you don’t want to inhale all that dust.

Cooper: No and it goes back to the point when people ask how you survive the summers and the heat, you don’t spend a lot of time in the mid-afternoon, out in the sun. I mean, it’s just something, you’re between buildings, you’re from your car to the building. I mean there are times when you are out, but it’s not nearly as bad as…I once had somebody asked me what would happen if you got a flat tire and you had to change your tire? As if to assume that we would melt or die. It’s not like that, it’s just hot. We’ve all experienced hot. Pay attention to the weather across the nation, for the past decade, there have been some brutal summers. I would absolutely prefer the Arizona summer over many different states across through the East, up through the Midwest.

Joseph: You know, that’s, you bring up a good point. So, I think what a lot of folks do out here is, they kind of change up their routine. So, a lot of the stuff you may do in the middle of the day, people tend to hold off until the sun goes down and it starts cooling off. Or, we wake up super early in the morning. When it’s nice or it’s cooler and you can actually get some stuff done before it’s blazing hot.

Cooper: Yeah, that’s where the backyard pool is just a fantastic place to congregate and people use it in the summertime. We have so many winter visitors that don’t always understand the concept of the pool they look at the cost and the maintenance and all that stuff but I tell you what, if you spend several summers here and you’ve got yourself a pool, you’re going to use it.

Joseph: Oh, absolutely. I agree with you one hundred percent. And, you know I’ve been in different parts of the country in the summertime and honestly I would actually prefer the dryer heat.

Cooper: I believe there’s a mischaracterization of Arizona summers mostly because of the glorified 117, sometimes 120, you’ll get there and it’s national news and then people peg that and it’s not always true.

Joseph: Right, but those are the records highs, you know and that’s the reason why it’s on the news throughout the nation. I will say this though, if you truly want to feel and discover what it feels like for two weeks in June, when it’s the absolute hottest…go get a hair dryer and blow it on your face, cuz that’s what it feels like.

Cooper: Yeah, stick your head in an oven.

Joseph: Ah, not that we would ever recommend or suggest anyone doing that! (Ryan laughs)

Cooper: No, but it would simulate accurately.

Joseph: (Laughing) Yeah, it really does for those two weeks in June. Oh my goodness, it’s hot.

Cooper: You gotta keep in mind, that’s a big golfing time of year for the locals and those summer months, those early mornings, those courses are packed. You can get in the back nine at a lot of places, you can go 18 before 9-10 o’clock. You’re going to be hot at about 10, but it was a great morning and again these are things that people don’t talk about as much as they should unless you come and talk to a local or listen to a podcast like this one.

Joseph: Yeah, no, absolutely.

Cooper: Okay, Arizona winters. We know that it’s beautiful. That’s what we’re sensationalized for. 72 degrees all winter long. Is there anything you would like to debunk in that or is that just paradise like it’s advertised?

Joseph: No, I would say that, you know, it gets really nice starting in November. So, for a local Arizona boy, every Halloween, you can just all of sudden feel the change in the air.

Cooper: For the most part, you’re going to get a good three months, maybe four months of pretty spectacular weather.

Joseph: Oh absolutely and that’s the reason why we host all these big events in the months of January and February and March. I mean we can talk about the Super Bowls, the college football playoffs and the championship games and the Fiesta Bowl. And we can talk about the Phoenix Open and spring training. All these events really kind of…I don’t know what’s the right word…

Cooper: They drive our economy.

Joseph: That’s for sure and I think it is a good representation of what the weather is like during those months.

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