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Tucson is a city and the seat of Pima County, Arizona, located 118 miles southeast of Phoenix. As of July 1, 2005 a census estimate put the city's population at 521,605, and the metropolitan population at 931,210. By 2008 the city population is expected to exceed 610,000, while the metropolitan population is expected to exceed 1 million by spring 2007. In 2005 Tucson ranked as the 32nd-largest city and 52nd-largest metropolitan area in the U.S. It is the largest city in southern Arizona, and the third largest in the state after Tucson.

Major incorporated suburbs of Tucson include Oro Valley and Marana northwest of the city, South Tucson, and Sahuarita south of the city. Communities in the vicinity of Tucson include Casas Adobes, Catalina, Catalina Foothills, Flowing Wells, Green Valley, Tanque Verde, and Vail.

Tucson has two major seasons, summer and winter; plus three minor seasons: autumn, spring, and the monsoon (Tucson's primary "rainy season"). Summer is characterized by low humidity, clear skies, and daytime high temperatures that exceed 100 degrees Fahrenheit. The average overnight temperature ranges between 69 degrees F and 74 degrees F.

The monsoon can begin anytime from mid-June to late July, with an average start date around July 3. It typically continues into August or September. During the monsoon the humidity is much higher than the rest of the year. This period begins with clouds building up from the south in the early afternoon followed by intense thunderstorms and rainfall, which can cause flash floods. Large areas of the city do not have storm sewers, so monsoon rains flood the main thoroughfares but usually only for a few hours. A few underpasses in Tucson have "feet of water" scales painted on their supports to indicate whether they can be safely forded by an automobile during a rainstorm. The evening sky at this time of year is often pierced with dramatic lightning strikes.

Autumn lasts from late October to November or December. It is much like summer, and similarly dry, with days above 100 degrees typical into early October. Average daytime highs of 84 degrees F, with overnight lows of 55 degrees F, constitute typical fall weather.

Winters in Tucson are mild relative to other parts of the United States. Daytime highs in the winter range between 64 degrees F and 90 degrees F. Although rare, snow has been known to fall in Tucson, usually a light dusting that melts within a day.

Spring begins in late February or March, and is characterized by rising temperatures and several weeks of vivid wildflower blooms. Daytime average highs range from 72 degrees F in March to 88 degrees F in May with average overnight lows in March of 45 degrees F and in May of 59 degrees F.


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