Exploring the history of Phoenix, Arizona and a little bit of Los Angeles and San Francisco, California.

Why Midwesterners get so excited about the "dry heat" of Phoenix


One of the things that I've appreciated about Phoenix ever since I moved there from Minneapolis as a teenager is the dry heat. And it's a phrase that puzzles a lot of people who've never lived in the Midwest.

Now calm down here, I love both Phoenix and Minneapolis - they're beautiful cities. But if you've ever spent a summer in Minneapolis where the humidity is so high that you can barely breathe, you know that it's unpleasant, to say the least. And it doesn't really have to be all that hot by Phoenix standards to be horrible - in the 80s with high humidity can have you scratching your hair in tortured agony and wishing that you can worn nothing that day but deodorant. I grew up in Minneapolis, and if you've spent a summer there, you know. If you haven't, I don't recommend it.

I'm not saying Phoenix isn't hot. It gets insanely hot. And I mean "you can fry and egg on the dashboard of your car" hot, but it doesn't get humid and hot. And that means that my air conditioning can handle it with ease. My car's steering wheel may be too hot for me to touch it after sitting in a parking lot, but that low humidity that Phoenix has means that my car will be comfortable in minutes, and I won't be trying to tear my hair out at the roots. And in the early mornings and evenings in Phoenix even temperatures in the 90s beat the heck out of high-humidity temperatures in the 80s back in Minneapolis.

But it's like everything else, it makes no sense if you haven't experienced it. And if you haven't, I envy you, and you're just gonna have to take my word for it. I like Phoenix, it gets hot, but it's a dry heat.

Image at the top of this post: Saguaro Cactus in Paradise Valley in the 1930s, near Phoenix, Arizona.

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