One of the biggest culture shocks experienced by people who moved to the Phoenix metro area from a cold climate can be the completely unexpected arrival of winter.
With daytime temperatures reaching into the high 80s in early November -- a situation that's by no means unusual -- Valley residents sometimes aren't aware that a season exists between summer and the New Year. But it really is autumn now, astonishing as that concept may seem.
Here are 10 clues that let us know when fall has arrived in Phoenix:
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10.) Snowbirds begin flocking.
The roads start to swell with out-of-towners as soon as the weather turns. When winter grows nearer, it becomes ever more annoying to drive anywhere in town.
9.) People wear hoodies with their shorts.
Wardrobe confusion reigns when the days are still warm and evenings grow chilly. By next month, you'll have wished you had a jacket at least once.
8.) The Brown Cloud gets worse.
When summer fades and the ground becomes cooler at night, warmer air above the city acts like a lid and traps pollutants in the Valley, making the air look dirtier. The effect may be exacerbated by the fact that you haven't been outside noticing the air for the last few months due to the extreme heat.
7.) Holiday decor and music.
The local Starbucks begins to stock holiday-season items. Driving back from rollerblading or hiking, you notice holiday music on your radio. It must be November.
6.) Your neighbor begins seeding for a winter lawn.
Nothing says winter in Phoenix like a deep-green, rye-grass lawn. But it takes planning, and October is a good month to start seeding and sprinkling.
5.) The swimming pool gets cold.
Sure, it may be be pushing 90 and you'd love a dip, but those overnight lows have made the pool a tad too refreshing.
4.) Night falls in the late afternoon.
It's still warm enough to put the top down on the convertible, but now it's dark when you leave work. No daylight savings time in Arizona also means that, now, when you call your friend in Los Angeles at 7 a.m., you woke his butt up because it's only 6 a.m. there.
3.) Planned outdoor events begin happening.
The festivals, 10Ks, car shows, whatever. The point is that you and your guests won't melt into puddles now.
2.) If rain falls, it's cold rain and kids aren't playing in it.
Autumn rain in Phoenix feels different than the showers that come during the summer monsoon season, often due to a corresponding drop in temperature. If it's substantially cooler one or two days after a storm, summer's over -- even though it might be warm again a week later.
1.) An onset of heavy, early snow occurs somewhere in the nation.
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Seeing the Midwest or East Coast in the grip of an autumnal polar blast can be a good reminder to start making ski-trip plans for Flagstaff, Colorado, or somewhere else with snow.