Tucson Weather (copy)

A cactus on Bear Canyon Trail stands in front of clouds blanketing the Santa Catalina Mountains in Tucson, Ariz. on November 21st, 2019. 

It's officially winter, but in Tucson, that typically doesn't mean snowy days or freezing high temperatures.

In Tucson, the sunny days remain (with chilly nights thrown in the mix). From saguaros wrapped in Christmas lights to the drop in our electricity bills, here are 11 signs it's winter in Tucson. 

Skiers and snowboarders took advantage of a heavy snowfall in 2019.

1. Catalina Highway is closed due to snow

It doesn't snow down in Tucson very often, so when it snows on Mount Lemmon, we Tucsonans get excited — so excited that there's often a wait to get up Catalina Highway due to cars in line to enjoy the snow day.

Or the icy roads close Catalina Highway almost completely, causing us to wait even more patiently (and eagerly) for our chance to have a snowball fight.

2. Your electric bill drops

Your AC finally gets a break. Hello to some extra cash in your pocket!

Snow is seen on the Santa Catalinas near the town of Catalina, on Jan, 26, 2021.

3. You're extra thankful that you don't have to shovel your driveway

Snow days on Mount Lemmon are fun, but it's even more fun knowing you don't have to shovel snow every day.

4. Snowbirds are here

And no, we're not talking about animals with feathers (but you can brush up on your Tucson words here!).

We've seen a running joke on social media that leaves don't change color here in fall and winter, but license plates do.

5. You hear complaints that it's cold — but it's 70 degrees outside

Sometimes, anything below 70 degrees just feels too cold.

A saguaro in a Santa outfit is part of the extravagant decorations in Dan Moussettes yard at 3073 W. Wildwood Dr., Tucson, Ariz., December 3, 2020.

6. Saguaros dressed in Christmas lights 

It's dangerous work but it's not winter in Tucson without twinkling saguaros.

7. Your fridge is suddenly stocked with tamales

You may already have a fridge stocked full of them thanks to your family's yearly tamale-making party. But in the chance you don't, here's one way to make tamales (and some suggestions on where to buy them).

Pictured is a strawberry and lemon Eegee.

8. The only slush in town is Holly Berry

Because it's never too cold for an Eegee.

9. Tucson dress code: Flip-flops and a jacket

Acceptable substitutes are Birkenstock sandals and a sweater or Uggs and shorts.

10. Everyone's desert plants look like Halloween ghosts

Protect your plant babies when temperatures start to drop significantly!

11. Instagram posts from your out-of-town friends start to look different 

Your out-of-town friends:

Your posts:


Note: This article was originally published in December 2017.


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