Thursday, December 29, 2011


Right now we're experiencing something that we haven't for a long time.  I left these pictures exactly as I took them, with the dark, brooding sky.  The temp about an hour and a half ago when I took this was about 50 degrees.  Warm wind, water running everywhere. 

All the snow on the west side of our house is gone.
Ice melting. 

Now it's raining - hard and the wind is howling. 

It's a chinook.  To partially quote Wikipedia chinooks occur in the interior West of North America, where the Canadian Prairie's and the Great Plains meet various mountain ranges.  The original usage is in reference to wet, warm coastal winds in the Pacific Northwest. 

Chinook is claimed by popular mythology to mean "eater"but it is really the name of the people in the region where the usage was first derived.  In this case it refers to a strong Chinook which can make snow one foot deep almost vanish in one day.  The snow partly melts and partly evaporates in the dry wind.  The winds have been known to raise the temperature from 20 degrees below to as high as 68 degrees above for a few hours or days, then temperatures plummet to their base levels.  The greatest recorded temperature change in 4 hours was caused by Chinook winds on January 15, 1972 in Loma, Montana where the temperature rose from 48 degrees below to 48 degrees above. 

I remember these from my childhood.  Very interesting...........and slick!!!             Diane


Kit said...

Happening here too! All my snow is gone and the wind is so strong. Where my daughter is (Lost Trail Pass) is is snowing like crazy! Kit

Laurie said...

Being in Michigan, I had never heard of a Chinook Diane, Interesting! And the pics to prove it. You really are enjoying your new camera, loving your pictures!

Betsy from Tennessee said...

Interesting Diane... I had always heard that the Chinook winds come at the END of winter... Hmmmmmm---guess I'm wrong on this one!!!!! ha


Pondside said...

When we lived in Northern Alberta we always wished for the Chinooks that visited Calgary - and if we made it south to Calgary in December or January and there was a Chinook we'd think we were in Mexico!!

Ruth's Photo Blog said...

I would be sad to see that snow leave now.