Chinook Arch

What you are looking at above is a kind of phenomena we have in Calgary situated as we are on the leeward side of the Rocky Mountains. It can occur at almost any time of year when the conditions are right, but it is fairly common in the winter when it has been cold. The winds will blow over the mountains, and as they drop back to the earth, they heat up, and we can see a temperature rise of 20-30 degrees F in just minutes. The heat is caused by the heat of compression, as the air falls closer to the lower elevations. This heating is in addition to the warm air itself that blows over the mountains from the Pacific.

While not as common the rest of the year, we still get them at any time. The signature of a Chinook Arch as it is called is the dark cloud overhead, and the defined line at the cloud edge to the west. While the cloud is thick and dark, I have never seen rain falling from the cloud. The name supposedly comes from the ancient Indians who saw this warm wind coming as it did from the area where the Chinook Indians lived.

Depending on how big the Pacific storm is, the cloud can extend all the way into Montana several hundred miles to the south, and north toward Jasper Alberta. In any event it is a welcome sign in the winter when it is very cold. The temperature will often go above freezing, and most folks like them for that. On the other hand, some people get severe headaches with the pressure change, and rather dislike them. For me I would rather go to Hawaii for my warm winter weather!

Our annual migration of the birds has started. Many birds are passing through our yard on the way to the south. Dozens of American Robins are passing through, even though they were completely AWOL all summer. They are fattening up on the berries growing on the Schubert chokecherries that grow in profusion in our condo complex. They will be completely gone in a few days.

The robins have been taking advantage of my birdbath as well. They stand on the edge, or in the water, and drink, and then splash around so much that after a few birds have had a bath, I need to refill it with water for the next batch. I do believe that robins are related to ducks they like water so much.

The front yard of our condo villa, townhouse is about 20 feet by 20 feet, and grassed except for where the gardens are planted, and where the tree is sitting. A couple of days ago, we had in that tiny patch of lawn, a robin, a chickadee at the seed feeder, a northern flicker digging for ants at the lawn edge, a magpie just watching and digging for whatever, and 3 purple finches, all at the same time! Some sparrows were on the grass as well. I thought that was pretty cool!

The chickadees will overwinter as will the magpies and sparrows, the rest will be gone south travelling over vast distances to get to food. The birds here don’t travel that far, going to Arizona, Texas, and maybe central America. Some birds fly from Alaska to almost Antarctica and back every year! Absolutely astounding animals. From our place I travel to the shopping center and without my GPS, I can get a bit lost! It is after all about 3 miles!


If you want to be successful, it’s just this simple.  Know what you are doing.  Love what you are doing.  And believe in what you are doing.

Will Rogers


A mother was having a hard time getting her son to leave for school one morning.

"Nobody likes me at school," said the son. "The teachers don’t and the kids don’t, the bus drivers hate me, the school board wants me to drop out, and the custodians have it in for me. I don’t want to go."

"You’ve got to go," insisted the mother. "You’re healthy. You’ve got something to offer others. Besides, you’re forty-nine years old and you’re the principal!"

Have a Great Day, and be good to each other!

Ross Smile


About techmech

Older type, enjoys computer, cruising, photography, fishing, travel, good food and movies

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