A Chinook Blew Through Tok Today

img_0643I don’t know what it is about chinooks that feel unsettling to me. The temperature in Tok today is in the 30s. That is PLUS 30 degrees Farenheit for those who know that the temperatures here can get pretty cold. This time of year minus 30 is common.

I should be enjoying this warm weather. But there is something haunting about a warm wind blowing.

I’m not sure what it is about a chinook in the middle of winter blowing across a snowy landscape that disturbs me. Does it remind me of something from my past?

I remember these chinooks  in Wyoming. Maybe this wind is carrying me back to my time spent on the vast open plains of the West, at a time in my life when I was disconnected and alone.

Maybe these chinooks are like the loneliness you feel when you are with someone you love and then they have to go away – deceptively warm at first but intensely cold and empty once they’re gone.

When I stepped outside today, I was overcome with a feeling of foreboding, as if the warm winds were bringing bad news or sad feelings amidst their swirls and gusts. Even though the sun was shining and the sky was promising blue, I wanted to retreat back into my car, back into my house, and wait it out until the warm winds stopped blowing through Tok.

Am I the only one who feels haunted by chinooks? Tell me I’m not crazy.

UPDATE: Kay noted in comments that there is a study about women 20-49 and chinooks. Fascinating excerpt:

Autonomic reactions and skin disorders were found to be significantly related to chinook conditions. None of the psychological symptoms was related to chinook conditions. However, a significant relationship was found between symptoms and chinook conditions in women with a history of emotional disorders. This type of information is important to educate chinook-sensitive women and health professionals as well as for hospital emergency departments in order to be able to prepare for potential increases in workload.

Marja J. Verhoef1   Contact Information, M. Sarah Rose1 and Savitri Ramcharan1

(1) Department of Community Health Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, University of Calgary, T2N 4N1 Calgary, Alberta, Canada

Received: 4 February 1994  Revised: 14 December 1994  Accepted: 15 December 1994

Guess this means I AM crazy, eh?

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  1. Kay

     /  February 20, 2009

    Somebody did a scientific study of women “chinook conditions and physical and psychological symptoms in women aged 20–49 years”…..!!!

  2. Wow! That is unbelievable. My biologist husband is exclaiming that he has never heard such a thing and says I’m an “oddball.” But reading that just made me feel so not alone.

  3. Iowa has something similar. We just had a few 60 degree days and now we are hovering back around freezing. I know, I know, our cold days are your warm days, but still, it’s cold for a GA girl. I get a feeling like you described before a big storm hits. Something wild, like anything can happen.

  4. Kevin

     /  February 20, 2009

    I read this headline and, honest to God, thought that a Chinook helicopter flew through Tok and wondered why that would be unsettling to you.

  5. Kevin

     /  February 20, 2009

    Here’s what I’m referring to:


  6. Chinooks always make me feel distinctly apprehensive, day or night. Numerous survival hazards are related to high winds, including inability to hear intruders, falling trees, falling structures, & avalanche, so I’m guessing it’s a genetically, built-in wariness we’re sensing. But apparently your hubby didn’t inherit that gene. 😉

  7. chinooks always made me feel wildly unsettled: I felt as though the tropics were mocking me. I felt as though I could hear that other life, the life I didn’t choose, calling me from some warm sunlit beach somewhere. I’d always wonder why I was in Alaska and feel very at odds with those who were enjoying the warm winds.

  8. Darren M

     /  February 20, 2009

    If you’re lonely, c’mere…I’ll keep you warm…Kidding

  9. Alicia Greene

     /  February 23, 2009

    I go a little crazy with chinooks and warm weather. I get the chance to pretend that it’s spring and take all of my dogs out and run them without coats or boots. I also get to run with a bare head and no gloves! The worst winds for me are the clear day winds that howl when it is 10 degrees (above) or colder and blow the trees and snow and make me just want to hunker down in the house.
    The best part of a chinook, for me, is the fact that I can smell life again; a rich earth and vegetation smell, as opposed to the complete lack of olfactory stimulation when it is very cold and frozen and still.
    Believe me, I’m crazy enough without having to have a “chinook disorder” to add to my lengthy list. Glad that’s one emotional bullet I have dodged 🙂


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