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The Chinook

Forecast calls for cold and warm.
On January 22, 1943 in Spearfish, SD: The temperature rose 49 degrees in two minutes, from – 4 to 45; later the same morning, it dropped 60 degrees in 27 minutes, from 56° to - 4°. Plate glass windows cracked as a result of the wild fluctuation in temperatures caused by Chinook winds. The greatest 24- hour U.S. temperature difference in one place was set January 23- 24, 1916, in Browning, MT, at 100 degrees when it went from a low of -56° to a high of 44°.*
Snow eating is one way it's been described, old tales too.. It's a seasonal wind, like the Mistral. There is some overlap in the definitions but the Chinook can safely be labeled a Foehn wind. A Foehn wind is "a generic term for warm strong and often very dry downslope wind(s) that descend in the lee of a mountain barrier". That is the one illustrated above. My favorite wind though, is the katabatic. A downhill wind. Cold and dense it blows here on Earth especially in the Antarctic, and there on Mars too. (page 9 of 14.) [more inside]
posted by vapidave on Dec 5, 2009 - 33 comments

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