[page 91]

In speaking or writing of the climate of a country, it has become the established custom to allude to it as the "finest in the world," and draw a comparison with the "glorious skies of sunny Italy." Most generally those comparisons are far-fetched, and have no real existence except in the writer's imagination. Arizona needs no such fictitious aids to enhance the beauty of its climate. She can show as bright skies, as pure air, as bracing an atmosphere, as lovely, cloudless days, as brilliant starlit nights, as that land over which poets and painters have raved, and sane people have gone into ecstasies. The climate of Arizona suits all constitutions. In the south it is warm and dry, while the elevated plateaus of the north possess a cool, bracing temperature, well adapted to persons who have lived in northern latitudes. The winter in the southern portion of the Territory, and especially at Yuma, is perfection itself. Speaking of the latter place, the celebrated traveler, Ross Browne, has said: ‘‘The climate in winter is finer than that of Italy. It would scarce be possible to suggest an improvement. I never experienced such exquisite Christmas weather as we enjoyed during our sojourn.’’ This portion of the Territory is fast coming into favor as a sanitarium for those troubled with pulmonary diseases. The purity, dryness, and elasticity of the air make it unequaled on the continent for the cure of consumption, kidney diseases, and rheumatism. While the heat in summer is high, its peculiar dryness prevents any injurious effects, and sunstrokes are rarely heard of in Arizona.

There is no climate so conducive to longevity. This is attested by the great age reached by Mexicans and Indians born and bred here. Centenarians are not uncommon among these people, and there are many of them who have passed the one-hundred milestone. Barred by the peninsular continuation of the Sierra Nevada from the north-west trade winds, Arizona has to depend for moisture on the winter snows that fall in the northern part of the Territory, and the summer rains that are borne hither on the wings of the south-west trade winds. These cloud-bearing winds, after sweeping over northern Mexico, reach Arizona about the first of July, when the rainy season commences, and last until the middle of September. With the coming of those rains, the summer proper of Arizona begins; grass and vegetation spring up as if by magic, flowers cover the valleys, plains, mesas, and mountain sides, and all nature rejoices at the watery dispensation. In the mountains of northern Arizona the snowfall sometimes reaches a depth of four or five feet. It rapidly disappears from the plains and valleys, but on some of the lofty mountain peaks, like the San Francisco, it remains until the middle of summer. During the snowfall in the upper regions, the plains and valleys of central and southern Arizona are blessed with copious showers. The spring, though dry, is one of the most delightful seasons of the year. In the northern part of the Territory, vegetation takes a rapid start from the moisture caused by the

[page 92]

winter snows, grass becomes green, and continues until the summer rains bring forth the vigorous growth of rich grammas.

The winter climate of Tucson, Tombstone, Florence, Phœnix, and other points in the south, partakes of the character of Yuma; the mild, balmy air, the days with their clear, cloudless skies, and the nights brilliant with countless stars, like diamonds set in an azure field, make living during the winter months in Southern Arizona a luxury found but in few spots on earth. The winter in the northern portion of the Territory has that cool, bracing quality found in elevated regions; its spring and summer are delightful, the nights are cool and pleasant, making a pair of blankets a comfortable auxiliary to a good night's rest. It would be difficult to find anywhere a climate which possesses the golden mean—not too cold in winter nor too warm in summer—of the plateau of Northern Arizona. As a summer resort the pine-clad mountains of Yavapai and Apache counties, with their springs of clear, cold water, and beautiful, grassy valleys, are not excelled by any portion of the American Union.

Epidemic diseases are unknown in Arizona. Along some of the water-courses in the southern part of the Territory, chills and fever of a mild type prevails during the months of August and September, but is easily broken. It can be truthfully said, that no country possesses a healthier or more uniform climate. The air is dry, pure, exhilirating; there is health in every breeze, and vigor, long life, strength, and happiness under its glorious skies. Those who are suffering from pulmonary complaints or rheumatic affections will find in this favored clime the balmy air and the healing qualities to build up their shattered constitutions. As showing the temperature at different points throughout the Territory and the rainfall for a year, the following tables, kindly furnished by the Signal Service bureau, are appended.

The city of Tucson is 2,500 feet above sea level. The annexed table gives the maximum, minimum, and mean temperature for a year, together with the rainfall.

1880. Maximum. Minimum. Difference. Amount of Rain or Melted Snow (Inches.)
January… 78.0 14.0 64.0 0.56
February… 77.0 20.0 57.0 0.15
March… 87.0 35.0 52.0 0.41
April… 88.0 36.0 52.0 0.04
May… 104.0 44.0 60.0 0.00
June… 110.0 60.0 50.0 0.00
July… 108.0 65.0 43.0 1.62
August… 106.0 66.0 40.0 1.28
September… 106.0 58.0 48.0 1.89
October… 94.0 40.0 54.0 0.09
November… 73.0 30.0 43.0 0.00
December… 80.0 28.0 52.0 0.57
Annual means… 92.6 41.3 51.2 0.55

[page 93]

Temperature at Fort Yuma, fromMarch, 1880, toMarch, 1881. The fort is 267 feet above sea level
Month. Maximum. Minimum. Mean.
March… 73.97 37.80 55.88
April… 83.40 45.10 64.25
May… 95.13 53.45 74.29
June… 103.53 64.40 83.96
July… 105.26 70.74 88.00
August… 106.42 70.42 88.42
September… 100.00 66.43 83.21
October… 91.19 51.93 71.56
November… 73.50 36.10 54.80
December… 69.42 37.35 53.38
January… 67.42 32.09 49.75
February… 78.46 39.07 58.76
March… 79.70 39.61 59.65
Table showing monthly means of thermometer, amount of rainfall, and maximum and minimum thermometer, for the year endingJune 30, 1881, at Prescott, 5,600 feet above sea level
Month. Total Rainfall or Melted Snow (Inches). Monthly Mean Thermometer. Maximum. Minimum.
July… 2.34 72.6 92 45
August… 2.80 71.4 92 40
September… 1.26 64.4 90 29
October… 0.18 52.3 77 48
November… 0.42 36.3 65 —1
December… 1.84 37.8 63 11
January… 0.16 34.7 62 5
February… 0.10 40.8 76 10
March… 2.91 49.2 78 0
April… 0.67 56.8 82 26
May… 0.44 62.2 89 33
June… 0.00 71.3 96 38
13.12 54.1 96° —1

The records for only five months of the present year are available from Camp Grant, situated in an elevated region, nearly 5,000 feet above the level of the sea. The climate is among the most delightful in the Territory:

1881. Mean. Maximum. Minimum.
January… 41.23 56.12 30.23
February… 48.09 67.82 37.17
March… 50.06 62.03 39.05
April… 62.98 78.80 47.10
May… 70.26 83.77 54.64

[page 94]

Mean, maximum, and minimum temperature, and amount of rainfall at Fort Mohave, A. T., during the twelve months commencingJuly 1, 1880, and endingJune 30, 1881, rendered by A. A. Surgeon John F. Minor, U. S. A.
Months and Years. Mean. Maximun. Minimum. Rainfall (Inches).
July… 91 111 67 ….
August… 89 109 63 .81
September… 82 105 58 .07
October… 70 94 50 ….
November… 52 85 28 ….
December… 53 70 34 .38
January… 49 72 30 ….
February… 59 82 35 ….
March… 61 96 35 .75
April… 74 98 56 .71
May… 79 101 62 .01
June… 86 108 68 ….

This camp is in latitude 35° 24', and longitude 114° 34' west from Greenwich, and is 600 feet above the sea level. It is in the valley of the Colorado, and is considered one of the hottest places on the globe.


© Arizona Board of Regents