Most Chinooks are not that drastic, but they are great when they happen.
The Chinook phenomenon occurs when a strong wind pushes moist air up the slope of a mountain range such as the Black Hills. Friction causes the air to lose its moisture in the form of snow (usually) and heat up. As it rises, the suddenly lighter air picks up speed. When the air reaches the top of the ridge, it follows the down slope into the canyons and valleys and other leeward low points.
Artist Charles M. Russell's famous 1900 painting of a starving cow circled by wolves on a snowy prairie is titled "Waiting for a Chinook .. the last of 5000."
These days, the Chinook wind is not a matter of life and death. It is definitely a pleasant surprise when it happens. And today, we'd welcome a Chinook. ... like right about now.