For the time being, since I can’t find out anything about this cloud formation, I’m going to call it a Manyberries arch. You’ll see why toward the end of this post.
When you dine on steak and lobster at Ric’s Water Tower Bar and Grill, you’re a 102 feet above the ground. Needless to say, it’s a great 360 view.
Ric’s is where Charlie and Bobby Jo took Roz and Jillian for dinner, and because they were sitting on the west side so they could see the mountains, they were able to enjoy a spectacular view of Chief Mountain, as well as one of the most amazing Chinook arches Charlie’d ever seen.
Chinooks are warm, wet winds that come in from the Pacific Ocean. They lose their moisture as they rise up over the Continental Divide, and when they drop down on the lee side of the Divide, they are dry and even warmer.
Our local winds come through the Crowsnest Pass, which is the warmest and windiest spot in Alberta, and then they continue east through Pincher Creek, and Lethbridge, and a bit beyond.
Lethbridge, which gets over thirty of these winds every year, claims it’s the Chinook capital of North America because the Chinooks become fewer and less-powerful the further north and south of Lethbridge you go.
The wind gusts often exceed hurricane force, which is 119 km/h (74 mph). In 1962, for example, gusts in Lethbridge exceeded 171 km/h (106 mph).
Today (181213), as I work on this post, we have a Chinook. The strongest wind gusts, which are out at Waterton Lakes National Park, are 167 km/h (104 mph). And Lundbreck, northeast of Waterton, has gusts of 154 km/h (96 mph).
Meanwhile, all through southwestern Alberta, gusts of at least 130 km/h (81 mph) are wreaking havoc. They’re blowing small cars off the road, and blowing vehicles into each other, and toppling empty tractor-trailer units.
But often these units aren’t empty, and it’s especially sad when the trailers that are toppled are loaded with livestock, although that doesn’t seem to have happened so far today.
As well, after multiple accidents, the RCMP have closed Hwy. 22. They’ve also closed a few other roads.
And around Fort Macleod the winds are knocking down trees and power lines. Needless to say, the whole area is sustaining significant property damage.
As a result of all this, an AB EmergencyAlert has been issued.
In the past, those winds have even derailed trains out by Pincer Creek.
Chinooks can also cause really dramatic temperature changes.
Temperatures often rise by 30 degrees Celsius (54 degrees Fahrenheit) in a few hours.
However, here are some of the most extreme changes.
In Spearfish, South Dakota, in 1943, the temperature rose by 27 degrees Celsius (49 degrees Fahrenheit) in two minutes (that’s TWO minutes). And a short while later, in just twenty-seven minutes, the temperature dropped back to where it started out. That is still a world record.
The greatest rise in temperature within a twenty-four-hour period was 57 degrees Celsius (103 degrees Fahrenheit) in 1972 in Loma, Montana: -48°C (-54°F) to 9.5°C (49°F).
And in Pincher Creek, Alberta, in 1962, the temperature rose by 41 degrees Celsius (74 degrees Fahrenheit) in one hour. I repeat, in one hour. From -19°C (-2°F) to 22°C (71.6°F). Apparently that, too, is still a record.
So obviously, the claim that Chinooks can make all the ground snow disappear within twenty-four hours is totally credible. Chinook is actually an indigenous word that means snow-eater.
And accompanying these winds is usually a Chinook arch, a solid band of stratus cloud that seems to touch the ground at the north and south ends and that arches up in the middle.
At Ric’s, while the four of them were dining and visiting, they got to enjoy what Charlie described as a near-perfect arch. The one below is certainly not perfect, but it does give an idea of what an arch over Chief Mountain might look like.
Notice the sleeping chief. Going from left to right at the bottom of the photo, you have the chief’s feet, his body, his head, and his headdress. But more about him in a minute or two.
This next shot is the north end of a Chinook arch. Unfortunately, Charlie only had his 50 mm lens with him. It would have been great to get the whole arch. But that would have required an ultra-wide-angle lens, perhaps a 9 mm, or even wider.
Here’s an arch I photographed last spring. These three photos were shot with a 14 mm lens, but even with a lens that wide, it was still impossible to capture the whole arch in one shot.
And I saw the Chinook arch below last week just west of Lethbridge.
The next arch was east of Lethbridge on the very same day as the one above, December 11, 2018, and at the very same time, midafternoon. But apparently it doesn’t have a name. And I’m not sure what to call it. Manyberries arch?
You have a Chinook and a Chinook arch. And you have a Manyberries Chinook. So why not a Manyberries arch?
But I can’t find Manyberries arch anywhere on the Internet, and the locals I talked with have never heard it called that. Actually, none of the locals were even aware that there can be arches both to the east and to the west of Lethbridge at the same time.
So for now, let’s call it a Manyberries arch until someone corrects us.
By the way, that CPR train bridge over the Old Man River to the left of the first Manyberries arch photo took two years to build, starting in 1907, and it cost $1.3 million. It is 1.6 kilometers long and 96 meters high, which makes it the longest and the highest trestle bridge in the world. (Remember to scroll down to View full size to see the details.)
And finally, a closer look at Chief Mountain before we go on to Henderson Lake where Charlie and Jillian went for a walk and discussed the similarities between Plato’s “The Cave” and the Wachowskis’ Matrix trilogy.
In the second and third photos, you begin to see that the chief’s body is quite separate from his head. His body is, in fact, a different mountain.
The photo below clearly shows that separation because it’s shot from a different angle than the ones above.
You saw lots of photos of Henderson Lake in Part V, Chapter 1, but here are a couple as a quick reminder.
Doesn’t this look like a wonderful place to discuss “The Cave” and the Matrix trilogy, especially after a stop at the clubhouse for a Labatt 50, and a Hennessy Privilege VSOP, and a bowl of peanuts, which Jillian, as usual, just nibbled at?
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