Chinook winds?

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by zealot, Oct 24, 2006.

  1. zealot

    zealot Soli Deo Gloria

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    I've lived in southern California, so I know what a Santa Ana wind is, but can anyone from Montana, Alberta, or Sask. tell me exactly what a Chinook wind is? I have heard that they bring warm weather, but what time of year do they happen? Is it a strong gusty type of wind, or just a brisk warm breeze? And what are its effects?
     
  2. Cabin Fever

    Cabin Fever Life NRA Member since 1976 Supporter

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    They are pretty much the opposite of Alberta Clippers.
     

  3. Aintlifegrand

    Aintlifegrand Well-Known Member

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    When i lived in Alaska..we had what they called chinook winds that came in November...they blew over 100 miles per hour for several days..when they were over they had melted all the snow which had up to that point been about 60 inches for the year thus far...it was wicked wind..I remember watching my son go to the garage and watch the wind skate him across the ice on the driveway was scary indeed. He was 6'4 feet tall and 145 at best..no match for those force winds.
     
  4. kitaye

    kitaye Well-Known Member

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    Usually they happen in winter and they are winds blowing in from the BC coast, across the rockies, and down into the prairies. Temperatures will drop dramaticially as they come across the mtns pushing cold air, but the wind itself is warm, moist, and usually a constant blow. I've seen days in Calgary, Ab where the morning would be -20C and by afternoon the chinook had blown in and it was +20C...and that was a Christmas day.
     
  5. wyld thang

    wyld thang God Smacked Jesus Freak Supporter

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  6. tiogacounty

    tiogacounty Well-Known Member

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    I once read an account of an early homesteader in South Dakota. He claimed that the rise in temperature was so fast and extreme that plate glass store windows cracked at the stores in the nearest town.
     
  7. wr

    wr Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    I love Chinooks, they're a welcome break from the extreme cold but they do create some issues. With the rapid increase in temperature, driving can be tricky when the frost comes out of the highways, some people suffer headaches or depression which they claim are related to the barometric change and it really is hard on livestock when the temperatures raise and drop so quickly. As a rule, wind brings Chinooks in and when they leave, the same wind brings a winter storm or blizzard and most extreme chinook days tend to be overcast and gray so anyone who thrives on bright sunlight can find them to be a bit dreary. I've always lived with them but I know that peope who are unaccustomed to them don't always enjoy them. Many claim that they much prefer the continual cold rather than warm and cold cycle and a common complaint is the wind.
     
  8. tinda

    tinda Well-Known Member

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    I saw our first chinook of the season this morning. It has been blowing warm all day. Actually, it's the warm, moist air from the Pacific, sometimes from as far away as Hawaii.

    Love it!
    :cowboy:
     
  9. rafter

    rafter Well-Known Member

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    Chinook wind blows down the face of the mountains creating friction that warms the air. Great in the winter for unseasonbly warm weather.
    ( No, I'm not a meterologist, nor do I play one on tv) But I did stay at a Holiday Inn last night.... :rolleyes:
     
  10. Tracy Rimmer

    Tracy Rimmer CF, Classroom & Books Mod Supporter

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    Mmmmmm... Chinooks....

    Along about mid January here in southern AB, we get a lovely little respite from winter. It comes in the form of the chinook winds, winds which come down off the mountains and carry with it swiftly warming temperatures which are very welcome in the middle of a Canadian winter People go out that morning wearing their Michelin man gear... and come back in the afternoon, wearing shorts and teeshirts. Last year, I was driving in SE Calgary and saw a guy out in shorts and a teeshirt, up a ladder taking down his Christmas lights.

    If there is no chinook, Christmas lights stay up well into May. :D

    Chinooks are what keep us all sane most years. From September until May, we can expect snow at the drop of a hat... we could experience -40 degrees for thirty days solid... but the chinook is the promise... the break in the tedium of winter.

    When I moved to Alberta from Saskatchewan (which, loosely translated is "place with no chinooks where crazy people live" :) ) I thought I'd died and gone to heaven. That first January, when we were blessed with the chinook winds, I thought life didn't get any better.

    Seriously, though, like WR said, they often bring overcast days... and rain... and livestock don't like the swift changes, and some people get "chinook headaches", but they're still well loved around here.
     
  11. Christiaan

    Christiaan Dutch Highlands Farm

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    Here in Western Washington Chinooks are a warm, wet wind that blows in usually in December and January. Often they come just in time to wipeout the Christmas ski season. The idiots on local TV have taken to calling them the Pineapple Express as they roll in from the central Pacific south of Hawaii. Generally they aren't too welcome here as we get so little "real" winter here as it is.
     
  12. zealot

    zealot Soli Deo Gloria

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    I dodn't realize that they came over the Rockies. Down here there are more Rockies to get across, so generally there are no weather systems that can cross the Continental Divide, with the exception of a few high-atmosphere thunderstorms.
     
  13. Laura

    Laura Well-Known Member

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    When I lived in Montana, the chinook winds came directly from the west and rarely came with rain. I could smell the Puget Sound in the air.

    A Pineapple Express blows from south/southwest and has plenty of water in it. It melts the snowbanks with warm rain and turns the highways into rivers.
     
  14. hoofinitnorth

    hoofinitnorth Well-Known Member

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    lol wyld thang. My husband agrees with rafter. We get them in Southcentral Alaska. We never got them in Southeast that I can remember, those were the Takus - famous for blowing down large unprotected timber stands of very old growth forests (HUGE sitka spruce trees that are easily well over 100' tall).