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Climate of the Rocky Mountains

In the high county, rugged landscapes and high winds interact to make weather unpredictable. A sunny July day can suddenly deteriorate into a violent thunderstorm leaving a dusting of fresh snow to outline the summits. Just as quickly, the storm may clear and the day return to its previous peacefulness.

Along with freak weather systems and rapid change, the mountains are influenced by both regional and local conditions. While the prevailing winds may blow from the west, mountain valleys act as a wind funnel, providing locally divergent wind patterns.

Overview. Learn the basics of mountain weather and weather statistics.

Influences on Weather. What influences the weather patterns in the Rockies? These influences are both local and regional in nature.

Clouds. Learn to identify typical cloud types and how they might affect the weather.

Predicting the Weather. Learn the skills to watch the signs to help determine the upcoming weather changes.

Lightning. What is lightning and how is it caused? Also learn safety tips for sudden storms.

The Chinook Wind. The science and legend of the famous Chinook wind. 

Alpine Air. What changes take place as you rise in elevation? 

Colours in the Sky. What causes the amazing colours of the blue sky and the mountain sunset? 

What Causes Winter? The mountain winter is famous for its heavy snowfalls, but what causes winter? Hint - winter doesn't occur when the Earth is at the farthest point during its orbit.