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What is "your" weather doing?

Along the eastern slopes of the Rockies, the Chinook provides a welcome respite from the long winter chill. The change can be very dramatic with temperatures rising from a brutal -30C to balmy +17C in a matter of a few hours. Chinooks are accompanied by warm dry winds gusting up to 70 mph.

The effects of a Chinook can really be mind boggling.  A strong wind in a lasting Chinook can melt and dry up several feet of snow and ice over night.  This dramatic change can take you from wearing heavy parkas, mitts, boots and scarves in the morning to shorts and sleeveless shirts in the afternoon. It's a strange, almost unbelievable, turn of events that Calgarians love.

Some Chinooks only last a few hours - others several days.  One particular "fast" Chinook that will always be in my memory was a New Years Eve in the middle 1960's. The weather was a brutal 40 below F at 9:00 pm.  The crippling cold snap had lasted nearly 4 weeks.  Cars were frozen solid.  Windows in our houses were frosted with ice inside.  It was so cold that even breathing outside was difficult.  A Chinook blew in and by the stoke of midnight it was 40 above F.  Everything melted.  Water was running everywhere.  The water was dripping off our windows. Then, by 2:00 am, when everyone was heading home, the Chinook blew out and it was once again 40 below F. Happy New Year!

Sunday, October 13th, 2002. Sunrise at 7:54 AM. This picture captured a colorful Chinook Arch minutes before sunrise above Glenmore Park, Calgary S.W.

Summer runs between May and September. Days are warm and evenings are cool. Temperatures can reach as high as +40C in July and August. Ironically, it has also been known to snow during these months.

Winters are cold with heavy snowfalls, particularly in the Rockies. Temperatures can drop as low as -40C in January. Also, ironically, the Chinooks can bring the temperature to +20C in the dead of winter.