The Chinook wind is perhaps one of the most bizarre weather phenomenon. Chinook winds are responsible for causing very extreme temperature rises in very short time. These winds bring in very warm gusts of wind capable of melting snow in a matter of minutes.
These winds are referred to as Chinook winds simply because early white settlers believed this wind was coming from a region inhabited by the Chinook Indians. In their language, Chinook means “snow eater.”
In North America, they occur around the Rocky Mountain region. You won't find many people in the region who haven't experienced the effects of this exceptional wind. Thanks to this wind, the Black Hills of South Dakota hold the world record for the most rapid change of temperature in the shortest time. On January 22, 1943 in Spearfish, SD, the residents experienced a freak Chinook wind. At 7:30 AM, the temperature in Spearfish was around -4 degrees Fahrenheit. Out of nowhere, the Chinook kicked in, and in just two minutes the temperature rose to 45 degrees above zero. That's a 49 degree temperature rise in only two minutes. By 9:00 AM, the temperature had reached 54 degrees. In only 27 minutes after that, the temperature had plummeted again to -4.
Another world record was set January 15, 1972 in Loma, Montana. The temperature rose from -54 degrees Fahrenheit to 49 degrees above zero. This is the most dramatic 24-hour recorded temperature change.