chinook wind

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Related to Chinooks of Alberta: chinook arch, Foehn wind

chinook wind

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A warm, dry wind that blows down the eastern slopes of the Rocky Mountains of the United States. It is akin to a Foehn wind and approaches the Rocky Mountains from the Pacific Ocean. As it climbs the mountain, the air begins to expand and cool. Some of the moisture in the air condenses and falls to the ground as rain or snow. As the precipitation falls, great amounts of stored heat are released. The air that descends down the eastern slope of the mountain is drier and warmer, warming at a rate that is twice the cooling rate and resulting in rapid melting of the snow. White wispy clouds appear parallel to the mountain ranges. The strong westerly or southwesterly winds can attain speeds as high as 100 mph (160 kmph).