Chinook Winds

Chinook Arch. Photo taken by Surrealplaces.
Chinook Arch. Photo taken by Surrealplaces.

“I was born with the Chinook wind howlin’ in my ears
That Rocky Mountain gusty shit, it dried me out for years…”

Here in Alberta, we have the pleasure/curse of experiencing chinook winds. Chinooks are strong, warm winds that blow in from the South, caused by the lee side of the Rockies meeting the Prairies. Now for me, chinooks are great, because I live in central Alberta, where they are fairly rare. We only experience them maybe twice a winter, and they melt a good chunk of our snow and let me wear a t-shirt while shoveling. It’s like a mini vacation.

However, they are very common in Southern Alberta, and quite an inconvenience. Chinook winds can reach hurricane speeds and have been known to cause property damage, as well as blowing away the fertile topsoil necessary for farming, and causing pesky headaches and migraines. Oh, and virtually driving people so crazy, they have to move.

All in all, chinooks are a popular topic among Albertans. The hardships of living with chinooks are captured perfectly in the lyrics of Corb Lund’s aptly titled song Chinook Wind.

“Here we got the Chinook wind a blowin’ every day
It’s gonna send the good dirt east and leave a terrible migraine…

-Quotes from Corb Lund’s Chinook Wind

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