The state of Arizona, long known for its desert climate and hot summers, hosts an array of surprising weather contrasts. Many identify the state as warm and dry; however, violent flash floods and even heavy snowstorms typically occur each year. According to a recent article published in Weatherwise, titled "The Weather and Climate of Arizona," extreme weather events, ranging from "heat to cold and dryness to floods… dust storms, forest fires, and unparalleled lightning displays" are all too common in Arizona. As a result, the state has been named "one of nature's best natural laboratories for weather" by the article's authors, Ronald L. Holle, Nancy Selover, Randy Cerveny, and H. Michael Mogil.
Arizona has many noteworthy physical contrasts, ranging from long-spanning deserts to volcanic peaks and some of the world's most famous canyons. However, the state's contrasts extend well beyond its physical landforms -- elevations in altitude and moisture levels can make the weather wildly erratic throughout the year. Every locationhas exceeded 90 degrees Fahrenheit, yet every location has also experienced below freezing temperatures. As the authors claim, "Arizona remains not only a place of great beauty, but also a place of great weather."
Ultimately, while Arizona is generally sunny throughout the year, there is always an opportunity for an extreme weather event. While these climactic events are often rare, the authors note that many climatologists and meteorologists remain drawn to the state and its possible weather fluctuations. Whether it be "violent flashfloods to stark aridity" or "the bitter cold of the mountains to the blazing heat of the deserts," one thing is certain: Arizona seems to earn its title of "one of the world's best natural laboratories for weather."
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