The Battle of the Desert Cities: Tucson vs. Las Vegas
The American Southwest may be known for its arid landscapes and cacti-lined highways, but beyond the surface lies a heated rivalry between two desert cities: Tucson, Arizona and Las Vegas, Nevada. The battle of the desert cities is not just a matter of tourism and casinos, but also of temperature.
Tucson is located in southern Arizona, surrounded by mountains and situated in the Sonoran Desert. It is the second-largest city in the state, with a population of over 500,000. Tucson has a hot desert climate, characterized by long, sizzling summers and short, mild winters.
During the summer months, the temperature in Tucson often reaches well over 100 degrees Fahrenheit, with average highs in the mid-90s in May and September. July is the hottest month of the year, with average highs around 100 degrees Fahrenheit, and lows around 75 degrees Fahrenheit.
In addition to the heat, humidity levels in Tucson rise during the summer monsoon season, which runs from June to September. The increased moisture in the air makes the heat feel even more intense, which can make outdoor activities unbearable for some.
However, Tucson has its own unique pattern of weather, which is called the “double dose of sunlight.” The city receives an average of 350 days of sunshine per year, which is significantly higher than the national average. This means that while temperatures may be high, the extended daylight hours offer more opportunities for outdoor recreation.
Las Vegas, Nevada
Las Vegas is a larger and more well-known city than Tucson, renowned for its nonstop entertainment and nightlife. Similar to Tucson, it lies within the Mojave Desert, a hot and dry region that covers parts of southeastern California, southern Nevada, and northwestern Arizona.
Las Vegas has a hot desert climate and is famous for its scorching summers and mild winters. Temperatures in Las Vegas typically reach into the 90s by early May and can stay there until late September, with July and August being the hottest months of the year. Average daily high temperatures in summer range from the mid-90s to around the 105°F/40°C mark.
The city is known for its dry heat, which can make the high temperatures in Las Vegas more bearable than those in other areas. Nonetheless, it can be a significant cause of wildfires during the summer months.
During the winter season, Las Vegas has mild weather, with average daily high temperatures hovering around the mid-50s to low 60s Fahrenheit. While temperatures in Las Vegas are cooler than in the summer months, visitors should still expect some cooler temperatures, especially in the evening.
Comparison of Tucson and Las Vegas
When it comes to their temperatures, there is no question that Tucson and Las Vegas are both scorchers. With average daily highs above the 90s, it’s no wonder why visitors flock to these cities during the hottest months of the year to experience the heat.
Las Vegas may have more fame and glamour, but in terms of temperature, Tucson stands out as the hotter city. In fact, during July, the average daily temperature in Tucson is around 100 degrees Fahrenheit, whereas Las Vegas sits at an average of 97°F/36°C.
But it’s not just the highs that matter; the lows are also essential to consider. The summer nights in the desert tend to only be slightly cooler than the daytime highs, and October can still feel like summer in both cities. In Tucson, on average, nighttime temperatures in summer drop to around 75 degrees Fahrenheit, while Las Vegas can drop to around 68°F/20°C.
Another interesting thing to note is that although Las Vegas is known for its scorching hot weather, it can actually get colder than Tucson during the winter months. With daily average high temperatures ranging in the mid-50s to low 60s, Las Vegas is significantly cooler than Tucson during the winter season, where average daily temperatures can get up to the mid-60s Fahrenheit.
The Battle of the Desert Cities is not just about tourism, nightlife, and entertainment, it is also about who is the hottest. Tucson and Las Vegas both offer visitors a unique desert experience, with hot summers and mild winters. Although Las Vegas is more famous for its hot temperatures, Tucson is actually the hotter of the two with average daily temperatures reaching 100 degrees Fahrenheit in July.
Whether you visit Tucson or Las Vegas, it’s essential to plan for extreme temperatures, especially during the summer months. Make sure to pack plenty of water, sunscreen, and lightweight clothing to survive the heat, which can be unbearable for some. Although both cities are hot, each offers its unique blend of climate and weather, making for an unforgettable desert adventure.