Downslope Wind

NCAR is located in a city known for the strong, dry winds that periodically gust off the eastern slopes of the Rocky Mountains. Typically, these winds are warm downslope winds occurring between fall and spring, and known regionally as chinook winds, a Native American word meaning "snow eater." The highest gust sustained at the Mesa Laboratory was 137 m.p.h., which happened in January 1972.

Because chinook winds can be damaging and rarely, even deadly, as with other severe weather phenomenon, it is important to be able to improve our forecast capability of these storms. The "winds over the Rockies" graphics display shows how the winds flow over Boulder and the eastern foothills of the Rockies, and notes their similarity to other strong winds known around the world, including foehn, zonda, and Santa Ana winds.

To read the text of the Boulder Downslope Winds fact sheet, click on

To learn more about the division at NCAR that studies these strong winds, the Mesoscale and Microscale Meteorology (MMM) Division, click on