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Pinnacle Peak Area Weather
The Sonoran Seasons
With more than 300 days of sunshine a year, Pinnacle Peak weather provides a year-round tableau for outdoor recreation.
A bit of a local secret is that Pinnacle Peak in North Scottsdale has the best weather in the Phoenix Valley. Why? Because we’re the highest point, with Troon and Troon North neighborhood elevations over 2,600 ft. compared to Scottsdale and Phoenix, which are 1,300 ft. lower. This and lack of pavement makes Pinnacle Peak about eight degrees cooler on average than downtown Phoenix, which makes a major difference in comfort levels during the summer months. Plus, the dark skies become bejewelled with brilliant stars, planets and constellations.
Visitor season here is mid-October to mid-April. These dates are as dependable as the arrival of the swallows at San Juan Capistrano. Popular snowbird origins include the upper Midwest, the Pacific Northwest, Canada, Colorado and even California. Of this long tourist season, February and March are the premier months, with beautiful days in the seventies. As a result it is the busiest event time of year, despite being high season for resorts and hotels.
|Pinnacle Peak Scottsdale Sunsets|
Stunning Arizona sunsets are a common occurrence in Pinnacle Peak. The most vivid sunsets occur when there are high clouds, whether wispy winter stratus or towering summer cumulonimbus from the monsoon. If there are no clouds whatsoever, you simply will not get a great sunset…but don’t be sad, all this means is that very soon the stars are going to be brilliant!
At sunrise or sunset, sunlight takes a longer path through the atmosphere than during the middle part of the day. The best sunsets occur when there are high scattered clouds since they are "hit" by the sun’s rays before passing through to the atmosphere's lower levels, where the air has more particles. More violet and blue light is scattered out of the beam along the way, and so the light which reaches the eye early or late in the day, is reddened. Contrary to popular belief, pollution actually mutes the sunset. Clear, clean air produces the most vibrant displays.The sunset actually occurs after the actual sunny orb disappears below the horizon, so don’t run inside too soon!
Winter and spring are the most popular seasons in Scottsdale and the Valley, attracting sun-loving visitors fed up with their weather back home. December is usually lovely with highs in the 70's not uncommon. January and February feature highs in the 60's and 70's and occasional low pressure systems from California can turn the skies gray with passing showers for a day or two. A couple times a year, a winter storm may even lay a blanket of short-lived snow in the Pinnacle Peak area, a most beautiful sight on cactus and mountain, revered by local shutterbugs that run out with their cameras.
Early January brings us visitors as well, in the form of college football fans, who flock to the Valley for the bowl games; Fiesta, and also the BCS Championship every few years, both at Phoenix Stadium in Glendale and the Insight Bowl that is played in Tempe. Pinnacle Peak is not particularly close to these venues, but the Valley has a modern and effecient freeway system to get everyone around. Despite the distance, fans and teams still fill the Scottsdale hotels for these events because Downtown Scottsdale has Arizona’s most energetic nightclub scene, as well as Scottsdale's preponderance of resorts and golf courses.
The Barrett-Jackson car auction is a huge deal here, as it takes place at nearby Westworld in mid-January, always drawing the rich of the rich, who Cessna into the Scottsdale Airpark. It has rained in the past at this outdoor/indoor affair, but usually the weather is nice though and tickets are affordable, so regular people are welcome, too.
February is also a very popular month in the Pinnacle Peak area, due to the luscious weather, usually with highs in the seventies.
The Waste Management Phoenix Open (nicknamed “The Wasted Open” ) has a big branding problem with the name, but what an exciting event. TPC course is only 15 minutes from Pinnacle Peak, and is in North Scottsdale not Phoenix. Held in early February, this is the most attended event in the PGA tour, drawing a jet-setter as well as sometimes raucous crowd. In 2014 more than half a million people atttended the week-long event. From the Arabian Horse Show at Westworld, to art festivals, there’s plenty to do outdoor here in the winter.
March is the most popular and festive month of the long season. Days are lovely enough for hiking and hanging by the pool and nights are still cool. In March, huge crowds come out to watch their favorite Cactus League team play during spring training games
Spring wildflowers in the desert occur from March to early April, with cactus blooming into May.
The season’s best extends through mid-May, although most snowbirds leave like clockwork the middle of April. Stay until mid-May and you will also be rewarded with blooming cactus and desert trees. Evenings beg to dine al fresco. Pinnacle Peak has a number of restaurants with outdoor patios. And locals wonder why everyone left so soon…to go back to late snowstorms and twisters? Why?
Late May is dry and features cool evenings.Temperatures have likely hit the mid to high nineties up on "The Hill" and hotter in Phoenix. But fear of a long hot season begins to set in among Valley residents. However even into early June, the nights are often cool due to the lack of humidity and that the surfaces haven’t retained their daytime heat. In fact, in mid- June, Arizona sometimes has has the high and low temperature in all the weather listings in the newspaper…for the world! Phoenix can be 115 degrees ("only" 105 degrees up here!), while only two hours away in Flagstaff, the clear, dry nights can plummet to well below freezing.
June is hot. Usually with an afternoon high of 105 degrees or so. Mornings still may be in the sixties though! The sky is unyieldingly blue, there are few clouds to provide a break in the solar intensity. It may be so hot in your car that you can’t grab the steering wheel until the AC kicks in. Backyard pools may still be chilly because of nighttime temperatures in the sixties, although we hate to complain about that. But truly sad are the large wildfires that break out almost every year in the high country. That aside, we all manage by simply staying in air conditioning or finding a pool.
Oddly enough, a sign of welcome change on the way comes in the form of haboobs, giant dust storms that roll across the Valley a few times a summer, usually before the monsoon or wet summer season kicks in. The last two years have been exceptions, as we've had more dust storms than anyone remembers. Although dramatic at times, no one really likes these due to the obvious dust...although now intreped photographers and news choppers are ready to record the dramatic scenes.
It’s hard to recommend visiting in June, unless you just want to hang out at the resorts and spas, taking advantage of their low summer rates . You may want to combo that with a visit to the Grand Canyon or the beautiful high country of Sedona, the White Mountains or Mogollon Rim.
Hiking and biking in the summer must be done early in the morning though.
Around early to mid-July, when then the area experiences a wind shift from dry southwest to the south, which draws up tropical moisture from Mexico into the area.
Orographic lifting of the moist air is caused by mountains, and creates dramatic and welcome thunderstorms across the area sporadically until mid-September, in a phenomenon known fondly as the monsoon.. This weather change is met with delight by heat-struck Arizonan’s who love the cumulous over the mountains, the rainbows, running washes, cool air, spicy scent of creosote and the dramatic sunsets that fire up the sky.
Around Pinnacle Peak is also another phenomenon, the flash flood. It’s hard to imagine most times of year, but the results of a sudden downpour on baked earth that collects down slope from mountains, is often spectacular. The North Scottsdale Pinnacle Peak area drains in all directions and water runs off the mountains and collects quickly, creating temporary rivers and flash floods in the normally dry arroyos, also known as washes.
The humidity spikes during monsoon season but it also brings down the temperature.So while everyone might gripe about July heat and humidity, the locals are excited to see thunderstorms and will stand outside establishments and homes when the summer storms first appear. Creosote spices the air after a rain and that scent alone may bring an expatriate Arizonan home. .
Air conditioning aside, it seems like everyone has a pool, even if it’s a kid’s blow up kind. So it’s hard to complain about the heat when you are floating in the pool with a cocktail. But let’s say you don’t have a pool, just go to the fabulous Scottsdale Aquatic Center in nearby McDowell Mountain Ranch and as a local you pay only $2 a day to get in and visitors just $3, all for access to lap pools, a lazy river and a fun people pool with a beach. Residents particularly take advantage of the deeply discounted summer specials at local resorts.
Frankly mid-September, after the monsoons, through early October, are still toasty, highs still in the 90's, although the nights cool off and the irascible solar orb seems to be relaxing from its position overhead. On the other hand, early to mid-October is a great time to take a quick road trip to see the aspens changing in the high country and attend an Octoberfest in an Arizona mountain town.
Mid-October through mid-December is more Mediterranean-like, with warm days in the senventies and cool nights.
Snowbirds arrive like clockwork the middle of October and the many locally-owned restaurants and shops begin to vibe with activity. Thanksgiving is always a wonderful holiday with gorgeous weather, and we wonder why anyone with a relative here in the Valley wouldn’t be visiting during this time. New Year’s Day has been beautiful for many years. We know this because we don’t miss the Greasewood New Year’s Day Pig Roast. Wear your leathers and you may want to sidle up to one of the fire pits late in the afternoon, but it’s usually a sure bet, with highs in the sixties. Christmas and New Years are great times to be in the Valley and to live around Pinnacle Peak.
A Sunny Disposition
It hardly ever rains here for extended days at a time, and it’s very rare to have a full day of nonstop precipitation. Averaging 11 inches a year, even when it does rain, it feels less humid than many other locales when it is raining. Sounds odd, but the air just doesn’t get that saturated. If you travel to the higher country of the Grand Canyon, Sedona, Prescott, White Mountains or Flagstaff, be aware the weather is very different, perhaps twenty degrees or more cooler.