Munich Greeter

What is…? – Föhn

It is part of Munich like beer and lederhosen. the “Föhn”. But what is Föhn? und whats so special about it? Let the Munich Greeter explain…

What is Föhn?
from a scientific view it is a warm downslope wind on the north side of the Alps. This wind is called “Föhn” in Bavaria, but is not only a bavarian phenomenon. This phenomenon exists also in the USA near the Rocky Mountains and is called “Chinook” there. Also in New Zealand (“Nor’wester”), England (“Helm Wind”) and Chile (“Puelche Wind)” does this sort of wind appear..

Why is it so special for Munich?
The warm wind is special in two different ways. On the one hand the wind creates a wonderful, warm and sunny wather in Munich (with a stunning view of the alps) while the rest of bavaria or maybe Germany has bad, rainy weather. On the other hand, it seems the Föhn has an effect on the people and their condition. Even if there are controversal discussions going on, Munich citizens believe in the effect and blame the Föhn for their circulation problems, headaches and strange behavior of other citizens.
“Do you have an headache? – Unsurprisingly, today there is Föhn!” is a common saying in Munich :-).

How far does the Föhn reach and how long does it stay?
The more the alps are away, the lesser the effect. If there is a strong Föhn it can be sunny and warm just right to river Danube. If the wind is weak it hardly provides Munich with good weather while in the north of Munich in Dachau or Freising (Airport) are many clouds.
Usually the Föhn lasts for one day but can also appear as a weather condition for some days. If there is such a weather condition the best indicator are special shaped clouds (like lenses).
Lenti bayern 190604-2
By Sunfly 14:20, 1 September 2007 (UTC) (Own work) [GFDL or CC-BY-SA-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0], via Wikimedia Commons

When there is Föhn?
To predict this is nearly impossible. The Föhn can appear during the whole year but particularly during spring. This brings Munich temperatures like in early summer (at least for some days) while the rest of Germany has to fight snow and ice.