Saturday, April 23, 2011

What is the Foehn?

foehn, also föhn
A warm dry wind coming off the lee slopes of a mountain range, especially off the northern slopes of the Alps.

View from the Zugspitz, Germany [click to expand]

I learned about the foehn while living in the German Alps years ago -- many Europeans believe the foehn brings mystical qualities. According to one source:
In certain regions of the world, the seasonal winds that blow have become legendary, bringing little short of misery and chaos to many of the local inhabitants. In these places it has been known for generations, that the winds bring feelings of anxiety, stress, depression and sleepless nights. Statistical studies show that when these winds appear, more road accidents happen and suicide rates increase. So real is the problem that it has been known for judges to take this into consideration when sentencing and for hospitals to postpone some operations until they cease!
You might ask why am I writing about the foehn. Well, the foehn is blowing through my town in the Allegheny Mountains of Pennsylvania as I type this tonight, and the feeling is eerie...


D J Clarke

The Free Dictionary

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