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Wild temperature swing in Calgary: -9C to +9C, here's why

Leeanna McLean
Digital Reporter

Wednesday, November 22, 2017, 3:03 PM - Temperatures varied across Calgary on Wednesday morning, with a whopping 18-degree difference recorded between two separate locations.

Around 6 a.m. local time, the temperature was at 9.1oC in Springbank and minus 9.2oC at Calgary International Airport.

While the contrast may seem odd to some, The Weather Network meteorologist Erin Wenckstern explains it's a natural occurrence in Alberta.

Visit our Complete Guide to Winter 2017/18 for details on the upcoming season, tips to survive it and much more.

"One of the many perks of living in the province is an atmospheric effect called chinook winds. It begins as a warm Pacific airmass rushes over the Rockies and descends on the lee side of mountains. As it sinks, the airmass dramatically warms and dries, flooding the Foothills with this Pacific air. However, warmer air is less dense than cold air, so it often needs to battle the cold air in place before you feel its presence," she said.

"If the wind is strong enough, then the warm air wins."

In December of 2015, A-list actor and producer Leonardo DiCaprio discussed witnessing the "terrifying" effects of climate change firsthand while in Alberta, filming his film The Revenant. Canadians heckled the star as he was not familiar with Chinooks. 

It's not abnormal to see drastic temperature differences during a chinook event, even just across one city as the warm and cold air go head to head, Wenckstern added.

WATCH BELOW: Chinook winds in Alberta bring drastic temperature differences

"Back in 1962, Pincher Creek experienced a memorable chinook where temperatures rose over 40°C in just one hour -- from -19°C to +22°C."

A warm westerly flow is expected through the next several days across Alberta, with temperatures rising form west to east by Friday.

A system is forecast to form across the north Wednesday night, with the potential for some freezing rain ahead of the warm front from northern Alberta through Saskatchewan.

The seasonal average in Calgary for this time of year typically sits at 1oC.

RELATED VIDEO: Leo vs. Chinook winds

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