The Best Mountain Weather Forecasts (in our opinion!)
We all know what it’s like when it comes to the weather. Usually it’s glorious all the way through the week, we’ve made our sandwiches, packed our bags, and planned out walks only for the weather to change suddenly just as we’re stepping out of the house to go on a weekend adventure. Interestingly, most of us only look at one or two weather forecasts before we go, and often these are not ones that are specific for a trip into the hills. In this blog we’re going to look at some alternative weather forecasts that might be worth a look at before you go. That’s not to say that these are perfect either – they are still forecasts after all - so please use your own judgement with which information you use.
Yr.No is the Norwegian national weather centre. Sometimes the website will come up in Norwegian as default, however if you head to the top right corner and select “Sprak / Language” you can soon enough change it to English. You might think that you can only look for places in Norway but this couldn’t be further from the truth with the UK and a large part of the world covered - simply search for your favourite place! The graphs and details given are clear and easy to understand, with the hour-by-hour view being my personal favourite in the day or two leading up to a trip.
There is also a handy Yr.no app for both android and apple devices, which is great as it shows the same information as the website, but stores your searches so you can quickly go back and see if anything has changed before you head out.
Met Office Mountain Forecast
Billed as the UK’s official weather service, the Met Office data is used for many of the weather forecasts you see on TV (in the UK). It used to be the case that these forecasts where great for both populated and lower level areas, however did not take into account the differences when up in the hills. This has all changed with the introduction of their mountain weather forecasts which are provided for the main mountainous areas of the UK, and cover a 24-hour period.
It gets better than this too. When you select an area and head to the “Location Map” tab you are then able to select individual mountains within that area, giving a great level of detail if you’re hoping to tackle specific hills.
Alongside all of this you can sign up to receive alerts via email, though these only cover weather warnings rather than forecasts, but it might save you from getting too far without your waterproof!
Mountain Weather Information Service (MWIS)
MWIS was developed in 2003 by Geoff Monk. The service is updated 365 days a year, and offers text copy of the forecast which is useful if you’re out and about in the hills as you can still access the forecast on your mobile. The areas covered are focused on popular mountain areas across the UK, though which location is covered by which area is sometimes tricky to work out.
The forecasts themselves include details about temperature 900m which, as I’m sure you are aware, is very different from sea-level, as well as the difficulty of walking due to the wind – when you see words like “Tortuous” it makes you think twice before heading out!
For those that are interested in how the forecast is produced, MWIS have creates a great guide which is worth a read.
These are a selection of our favourite mountain weather forecasting resources. None are ever perfect and sometimes it’s easier to use them together, pooling the information to get a more accurate picture. The only weather that is 100% guaranteed is the weather that has already passed! Do you know of any that we’ve missed? Get in contact to let us know!