Ice Formation by Space Science & Engineering Center

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Random Weather Facts

Chinooks occur when mountain ranges are exposed to strong prevailing crosswinds. Moist air is forced up the mountains bringing both cloud and precipitation to the windward side. The descending air becomes warmer and drier as it is forced down the leeward (sheltered) side of the mountains. The relatively warm, dry gusty winds that occasionally occur to the leeward side of mountain ranges around the world are known by many names. In Canada and the northern United States, they are referred to as chinooks. In the southern states, they are known as Santa Ana and in parts of Europe, foehn winds.