If you’re planning to climb Snowdon in the coming days it’s essential you know what the weather’s going to be like at the summit. Checking the mountain weather forecast before setting off will ensure you have the right gear for the day or might even lead you to change your plans altogether.
It’s important to understand how mountain weather differs from the weather we experience in the valleys. Very simply we would expect the temperature to drop by 1°C for every 100m we climb. Snowdon is over 1000m high so typically the temperature will be around 10°C colder at the top than when you started. That’s before we add in any other factors such as wind chill.
The Mountain Weather Information Service (MWIS) is a dedicated team of professional meteorologists with experience in mountaineering who produce forecasts for ten UK mountain areas 365 days a year.
MWIS weather forecasts contain detailed information aimed at novice and experienced mountain users. Their forecasts come largely in the form of warnings. Generally when there is little text, the conditions are fairly benign. The wording used indicates the impact of the weather on the user and particularly when there is the possibility of severe conditions they try to include this in the forecast as a probability even when the risk is low.
Knowing what the weather’s doing on your mountain day is key to making sure you’re properly prepared and get the most out of the experience. Having the wrong gear for the weather conditions can turn a lovely day out in to a nightmare.