What is a Chinook?


By By Steve Pool

SEATTLE - A Chinook is a fast, sinking wind that can cause dramatic increases in temperature.

These winds are somewhat common in Montana and Alberta as strong winds come down the eastern slopes of the Rocky Mountains. As the air sinks, it becomes warmer and drier.

There have been some incredible temperature changes due to these winds -- also known as "snow eaters" in those areas.

On Jan. 11, 1980 in Great Falls, MT, a Chinook wind brought the temperature up from -32 to 15 above -- in 7 minutes! That stands as the record for fastest temperature change in the United States.

But the Canadians don't miss out on this either. On Jan. 6, 1966, the temperature rose 37.8 degrees in 4 minutes in Pincher Creek, Alberta.

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This pic was taken at Starry Hill Observatory by two high school students: Gwen Pederson and Brett Emery.