The Lake District weather forecast

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Fell Top Conditions on Monday 30 March

Readings from Helvellyn summit at 11:25

Temperature minus 2.2°C Maximum wind speed 44.1mph Wind chill minus 13.1°C Average wind speed 31.5mph Wind direction WSW

Two seasons exist on the fells today! Below 750m, it is Spring as the fells only have a skittering of fresh snow together with isolated snow patches that ie in sheltered hollows and are avoidable. Above 750m and especially above 800m, it is still winter. The frequency, size and depth of snow patches increases with altitude. Although large areas of the fells - especially south and west facing slopes, are almost free from snow what there was had frozen overnight and the summit plateau was covered in ice which combined with the strength of the wind made conditions demanding. The greatest accumulations of snow are generally found on east and north facing aspects with drifts that are still deep enough in places to swallow the shaft of an ice axe. The snowpack on such slopes often consist of old, hard snow topped with a layer of fresh snow and hail with the two layers not having bonded, so caution needs to be exercised on such slopes.

Exposed routes above 750m, such as Striding and Swirral Edges, require extreme care owing to the amount of ice. Swirral Edge in particular still holds a large amount of old snow, especially above 900m, that has hardened with the colder temperatures. The exits to both edges, however, are guarded by banks of steep, deep, unavoidable, old snow and some ice. Although only short sections, they are not places to slip so crampons and ice axe are required to safely negotiate these areas especially in descent and when, as today, there is a frost at altitude.

Cracks have appeared in the cornices that still exist above east and north facing slopes. Although the cornices are quite small, the drops from them are not so please keep well back from such edges.

Despite spring flowers everywhere in the valleys, winter conditions still exist above 800m that walkers visiting the higher peaks must both expect and be prepared for especially when there is a frost at altitude. The summit windchill was minus 13 degrees today, so full winter clothing and footwear remain essential for anyone venturing out onto the high fells. The summit panorama today was magnificent, so come properly equipped and enjoy it!

Met Office forecast for Tuesday

Issued 31 March at 04:01

Shower likely throughout the day, these will fall as rain at lower levels and snow over the higher peaks at first. However, snow may fall to lower levels by the evening, though not settling below 200m. Breaks between showers will give some sunny spells, though these making little impact on the wind chill.

0600 to 0900

Sleet shower 30% chance of precipitation

0900 to 1200

Sleet shower 30% chance of precipitation

1200 to 1500

Light snow showers 30% chance of precipitation

1500 to 1800

Light snow showers 30% chance of precipitation

1800 to 2100

Heavy snow showers (night) 30% chance of precipitation

2100 to 2400

Light snow showers (night) 30% chance of precipitation

Visibility

Good but falling to moderate in any rain showers and poor in snow showers.

Hill fog

Occasional patches down to 500m in early rain showers, lowering to occasional patches down to 200m in snow showers during the evening.

Wind at 500m

Northwesterly 55-60mph with gusts of 75-80mph.

Temperatures

  • Valleys/low level: Plus 4 Celsius, rising to plus 8 Celsius during the day, and falling to plus 1 Celsius by the evening.
  • At 900m: Around minus 4 Celsius.
  • Freezing level: Around to 300m during the day.

Daylight

- from time.is

Hazards

Storm force winds

High risk - Consistent gusts above 70mph expected throughout the day, significant danger of being blown over.

Gales

High risk - Gusts well over 50mph expected throughout the day.

Severe chill effect

High risk - Strong winds and wintry showers will make it feel extremely cold.

Persistent extensive hill fog

No risk

Thunderstorms

Low risk - A risk of showers turning thundery throughout the period.

Heavy persistent rain

No risk

Strong sunlight

Low risk - Glare off the snow pack is possible in sunny spells.

Blizzards

Medium risk - Strong winds may cause blizzard conditions in snow showers.

Heavy snow

No risk

Forecast for Wednesday

Showers continue, though mainly confined to the northwest with some sunnier spells in the southeast. These showers will be wintry level down to around 200m, but snow will not settle below 400m. They will die out during the evening and overnight and frost is likely under any clearer skies.

Visibility

Good but falling to poor in any wintry showers.

Hill fog

Occasional patches down to 500m in any showers, becoming hill fog free as showers die out overnight.

Wind at 500m

Westerly 45-50mph with gusts up to 75mph easing to 25-30mph with gusts of 45mph by the evening.

Temperatures

  • Valleys/low level: Plus 1 Celsius, rising to plus 8 Celsius during the day, and falling to plus 1 Celsius again by the evening.
  • At 900m: Minus 3 Celsius
  • Freezing level Around 400m.

Outlook for next few days

Thursday

Cloudy but remaining dry for the most part. Light to moderate westerly winds becoming light and variable by the evening. Freezing level around 500m rising to just above the summits by the end of the period.

Friday

Cloudy with rain moving in from the west, falling as sleet or snow over the highest peaks. Light and variable winds becoming moderate northwesterly. Freezing level above the summits but dropping to 800m at times during the day.

Saturday

Cloudy but staying mainly dry, with the odd outbreak of rain or drizzle. Moderate northwesterly winds becoming light and variable. Freezing level above the summits.

Recent conditions

On 30 Mar 2015Click on photo to see full version

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