Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Montana’s Hidden Gems: Chinook Winds



Today, as I watch the snow falling softly and steadily, I have another of Montana’s Hidden Gems to share. This one truly cannot be seen, but it can be felt, and its effects are witnessed through both touch and sight. This hidden gem is a weather phenomenon known as a Chinook Wind.

I experienced my first Chinook on October 12, 2018. I remember because it was two days after I shoveled 10 inches of heavy wet snow from my sidewalk. In my opinion, that snowstorm had arrived a bit early and I was not looking forward to the long winter ahead. Admittedly, I have been spoiled for many years. I grew up in what I often referred to as the Arctic East in Idaho, but my adult life (until recently) was spent in the Banana Belt of Idaho, or the Treasure Valley in southwest Idaho. Its mild winters truly are a treasure!

October 11 arrived and with it, my aching muscles. Looking for something positive, I concluded that the winter would bring improved upper body strength due to my shoveling duties. I was positive there would be many days of shoveling ahead. As I watched the news that evening, the weatherman promised a Chinook Wind on the morrow. I had heard of these, but I thought they were warm wet and even aromatic. I was mistaken.

October 12 proved windy, but then there is a lot of wind here on the Eastern Front of the Rocky Mountains. I could hear it howling all morning. As I ventured outside sometime before noon to stash my trash inside a shed in order to keep it safe from bears (that’s a thing here), I was surprised by the warm atmosphere accompanying clear skies. By early afternoon the temperature was up to 55 degrees and most of the snow had melted. This wind, known as a Chinook Wind, was strong, warm, and dry. The snow didn’t just melt and run into muddy messes - it l went away. Oh, how I enjoyed that afternoon!

I was blessed to experience a warm season for the next two weeks with temps rising into the lower 60’s most days. Freezing temps held off until almost November, giving me time to locate my warm layers and allowing my brain to prepare for the real Montana winter ahead.

We’ve had snow for two days now, but I hear rumors of another Chinook just around the corner. I’m not certain, because this hidden gem cannot be seen, but it can certainly be felt. I’m keeping my fingers crossed!

Read about more of Montana's Hidden Gems. Perhaps these posts will draw you to this remarkable land.

Running Granny Green encourages women, especially grandmothers, to gain greater fitness by providing tips and inspiration to insure long years of joyful grand-parenting. The cookie recipes are a bonus!

Happy Running!
Carol - aka Running Granny Green


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