Sources of Weather Information
The weather patterns in the UK are constantly changing - mountains accentuate these changes sometimes quite dramatically.
Your comfort - and sometimes safety - depend on your ability to anticipate conditions and to respond accordingly.
Here is a summary of the main sources of information on weather conditions.
UK Met Office Mountain Area Weather Forecast
The UK Met Office provides a specialist service for hill walkers - the Mountain Area Forecast.
This covers the West and East Highlands in Scotland, Lake District, Yorkshire Dales, Peak District, Snowdonia and Brecon Beacons.
The forecasts for each area are issued twice daily and cover daylight hours. They contain a weather overview plus more detailed information on hazard risk, probability of precipitation, visibility, hill fog, maximum wind speeds, valley and summit level temperatures, freezing level, latest pressure chart and a general outlook for the next two days.
The Lake District and Snowdonia forecasts also contain information on ground conditions accompanied by an explanation of what the conditions mean for a walker together with guidance on clothing/equipment needed.
This information is exceptionally useful throughout the year, but essential if you're planning on walking in mountain areas during the winter months.
These are generally unsuitable as a source of up-to-date information on conditions in upland areas because:
- they are too general and
- the time delay is too long between the production of a weather chart and its publication.
As with the Press above, these are often too general.
However, there are exceptions - some local radio stations produce weather forecasts for local specialised outdoor activities - such as walking in the Lake District.
Recorded Weather Forecasts
Pre-recorded weather forecasts designed specifically for walkers and climbers are available in areas such as the Lake District and Snowdonia.
Again, consider the time lag between the collection of the data and time of publication. In rapidly changing situations, an hour can make a big difference.
Often a very good source of information when used in combination with the other sources above.