Every year on February 2nd, a groundhog emerges from his lodgings in a Pennsylvania knob, looks around, and then some guys in stovetop hats decide whether or not Phil the Groundhog has seen his shadow.

How to tell spring has come to Arizona
Spring in Arizona has many signs, but there's only one that counts. // Val Davidson/TSM

Then they prognosticate about how much longer winter will last. Six weeks? Longer? It's never good news, yet people across the nation take part in this annual ritual.

Does Winter End when the Cactus See Their Shadow in Arizona?

All of that rodent pomp and circumstance applies to the rest of the country, but how do you know when winter is officially over in Arizona? In the Desert Southwest, it's not when the Saguaro sees its shadow.

How to tell spring has come to Arizona
Will the saguaro see its shadow? How to tell winter is officially over in Arizona. // Canva

What kind of sense would that make? When you live in a state that gets an average of 300 days of sunshine every year, a succulent seeing more evidence that the sun is shining seems a bit redundant. And cacti don't have eyes, so that analogy really breaks down.

READ: That Ball of Leaves in Your Arizona Tree Isn't a Bird's Nest

How to Predict the End of Winter in Arizona

You may have noticed a cold snap across Arizona a few weeks ago. It happens every year: as we get deeper into spring, it suddenly gets bitterly cold again for a few days. Then we get one more deep freeze before winter gives up and brings on the warmer days.

600 ESPN El Paso logo
Get our free mobile app
How to tell spring has come to Arizona
Is this a sign that Spring is here in Arizona? When the wildflowers bloom? // Daisies/Val Davidson-TSM. Background image: Canva

In Arizona, winter isn't officially over until the mesquite trees agree. According to Tucson.com, there's an anecdotal belief that as soon as the mesquite trees begin to leaf out, Arizona won't experience any more cold weather.

READ: 5 Signs Winter is Over in Arizona

How to tell spring has come to Arizona
Winter is officially over when the mesquite trees begin to leaf out. // Val Davidson/TSM

While experts say this is an anecdotal observation, I've never known the mesquites to be wrong in the more than three decades I've lived in this state. Seeing the green leaves budding on the branches this weekend has me looking forward to warmer days.

How to tell spring has come to Arizona
The mesquite trees know when summer is coming. // Canva

[NCESC.com | Groundhog.org | Tucson.com]

UFO Sightings Around Arizona in 2024, So Far

Strange things always seem to happen over the Arizona desert. These people truly believe in their reported UFO sightings:

Gallery Credit: Tim Gray

Arizona: The Hummingbird Capital of the World

If you love hummingbirds, there's no better place to see them than in this little town in Arizona! Sierra Vista has more than anywhere in the world, which is why it claims the title of "Hummingbird Capital of the World"!

Gallery Credit: Val Davidson/TSM