BELLEMONT, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) - Many people think of Arizona as a state that just consists of the hot desert. But that's not the case.
In fact, there is one place in particular that sees quite a few nights with overnight lows below freezing, 241 to be exact!
Bellemont, just outside of Flagstaff, sees more freezing nights than cities in Alaska and Minnesota, both states with locations farther north and closer to cold arctic air.
But what are the ingredients that keep Bellemont cold so many nights during the year?
Obviously, elevation has something to do with it. Bellemont sits at 7,132 feet above sea level. In general, the higher up you go in the atmosphere, the colder it gets!
But that's not the only reason according to the fine folks at the Flagstaff National Weather Service office, which is actually located in Bellemont.
They tell me Bellemont sits in a small, valley-like area, which allows cold, dense air to drain toward them. Draining cold air (seeping into valleys like a fluid) is able to pool in places overnight, keeping some locations very chilly.
Another factor is the mountains surrounding Bellemont. They help shield the area from wind.
Wind at night can stir up the atmosphere, mixing warm air and cold air, helping to keep temps higher. When you have a still, windless night, it can allow for temps to drop like a rock.
So if you are planning any trips north during the winter, be sure to pack a coat since there will be many nights greeting you with chilly weather below freezing!