Welcome to Chinook Winds!
We have lots of great information about the very interesting Chinook Winds.
Chinook winds, sometimes called simply chinooks, are Föhn winds from the interior West of North America, right where the Canadian Prairies and Great Plains come together with several mountain ranges.
Chinook wind are named because they come from the lower Columbia River, west of the Rocky Mountains. The term originated in the local argot of the fur trade, which then spread to the prairies.
A popular myth is that Chinook means "snow eater", as a strong Chinook wind can make snow one foot deep almost vanish in one day. The snow partly melts and partly evaporates in the dry wind. Chinook winds have been observed to raise winter temperature, often from below -20°C (-4°F) to as high as 10°C to 20°C (50°F to 68°F) for a few hours or days, then temperatures plummet to their base levels. The greatest recorded temperature change in 24 hours was caused by Chinook winds on January 15, 1972, in Loma, Montana; the temperature rose from -48°C (-56°F) to 9°C (49°F).
The digraph in Chinook is pronounced as in the word "church" in some regions of the Pacific Coast, but as in French (i.e., shinook) in other regions of the Pacific Coast (e.g. Seattle) and on the prairies. This is because the French-speaking voyageurs of the fur companies brought the term from the mountains.
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