Chinook Wind Explained

Posted by on Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Chinook winds are winds in the interior West of North America, where the Canadian Prairies and Great Plains meet various mountain ranges, although the original usage is in reference to wet, warm coastal winds in the Pacific Northwest.

The word Chinook refers to the name of the people in the region where the usage was first derived.
 
The winds are caused by moist weather patterns, originating off the Pacific coast, cooling as they climb the western slopes, and then rapidly warming as they drop down the eastern side of the mountains.

Chinooks are most prevalent over southern Alberta in Canada, especially in a belt from Pincher Creek and Crowsnest Pass through Lethbridge, which get 30 to 35 Chinook days per year on average. 

These winds can raise the temperature substantially. 

On 27 February 1992, Claresholm, Alberta a small city just south of Calgary; recorded a temperature of 24°C again the next day 21°C was recorded. These are some Canada's highest February temperatures.



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