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Archive for Tuesday, January 7, 2003

Chinook wind brings warm weather

January 7, 2003

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If the calendar says it's January, then why is it so warm?

A weather anomaly known as a chinook wind will bring the thermometer up into the 60s Tuesday and maybe even 70 on Wednesday, says Matt Makens, 6News meteorologist.

"It's not normal, but I wouldn't call it unusual," Makens said. "This isn't a true chinook, but a quasi-chinook, you could say."

The name, which comes from the American Indian Chinook tribe of the Pacific northwest, means "snow eater."

A chinook wind comes straight from the Pacific Ocean, blasts over the Rocky Mountains, then dives down over the Plains.

The wind is heated by an expansion process as it comes down into the Plains, Makens said.

"As that happens, the pressure increases, which results in the air getting warmer," he said.

The record for a chinook wind increasing temperature was set Jan. 22, 1943 in Rapid City, S.D. The temperature jumped by 49 degrees in two minutes, he said.

"By having this wind, our temperatures will be boosted 15 to 20 degrees over a couple of days," Makens said.

The temperature in Lawrence will climb up from the 20s early Tuesday morning up to 60 Tuesday afternoon, he said.

The record high for this date is 70 degrees, set in 1965.

Temperatures will dip down to 32 overnight, with calm and clear skies, but the chinook wind will be felt again on Wednesday, he said.

"Tomorrow is going to be the warmest day in quite some time. The current forecast is 69, but 70 is possible," Makens said.

"We'll start to cool down, starting tomorrow night," he said. The low for Thursday morning will be 28, with a high of 47 Thursday afternoon, "which is still above normal," Makens said.

"We'll have a Thursday night low of 15, which is a little bit frosty," he said.

Friday's temperatures return to normal, with 38 degrees for the high, he said.

On Saturday morning, the low will drop to 12 and the clouds will return, with a high of 36.

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