Fell Top Conditions on Thursday 23 February
Readings from Helvellyn summit at 10:40
Temperature minus 3.7°C Maximum wind speed 51.9mph Wind chill minus 15.9°C Average wind speed 38.0mph Wind direction W - NW
Given the warnings about Storm Doris, the Assessor made an earlier ascent of Helvellyn than usual, and managed to avoid most of the bad weather.
Overnight rain has filled the becks, and brought a light dusting of snow to the higher ground in the Central and Eastern Fells. This fresh snow was laying above 700m, and was nowhere deeper than 1cm - just a smattering during the morning. There was also a little frozen ground in places above 800m, on rocks on both Striding and Swirral Edges, but this was not sufficient to hinder safe ascents or descents.
During the late morning further heavy rain brought more snow above 600m, as the storm force winds picked up. This is likely to continue throughout the rest of the day, so it will be interesting to see the extent of the fresh snow when the Assessor goes up tomorrow.
With wind speeds picking up through the morning, it was with some relief that the Assessor today reached his car before lunch. Certainly the speeds recorded on the descent were far greater (in excess of 65mph) than were recorded on the summit just an hour earlier.
Anyone heading into the fells should bear in mind that we are now in the grips of mid-winter, despite the changeable conditions we've had so far this season. Full waterproofs, clothing and equipment are essential for anyone going walking, and an ice axe and crampons should be carried by anyone heading above the snowline.
Met Office forecast for Friday
Issued 24 February at 02:39
A bright and mainly dry day on Friday, with some sunshine in the morning and early afternoon, perhaps just a light shower towards the West Coast and westernmost fells. During the afternoon cloud thickens up and then towards early evening outbreaks of rain, with snow above 450-600m, will arrive from the west. After dark this rain will become more persistent, and may give a brief period of heavy snow and summit blizzards before freezing levels rise above the tops. Hill fog will also become more widespread as the evening goes on and gales develop on the fells.
Good for a large part of the day but falling moderate to poor in evening with hill fog.
During the day only patchy hill fog mainly above 750-900m then becoming extensive to 600m in the evening but lowering to 300-450m over southern and western fells later.
Wind at 500m
WNW 25 gusts 35 during the morning. Becoming SSW 40 gusts 55mph in the evening with gusts 65mph by midnight.
- Valleys/low level: Minus 1 Celsius at dawn rising Plus 6 in the afternoon, and up to Plus 8 by midnight in the west.
- At 900m: Minus 4 Celsius, rising to Plus 2 Celsius by late evening.
- Freezing level: 450m, rising above summits by late evening.
- from time.is
Storm force winds
Medium risk - SSW gales developing after dark.
Severe chill effect
Medium risk - Sub-zero hills and fresh winds.
Persistent extensive hill fog
Medium risk - During evening especially southern and western fells.
Heavy persistent rain
Medium risk - From mid to late evening
Low risk - Some sunshine on fresh snowcover.
Low risk - Short period of gales and snow in the evening on summits.
Forecast for Saturday
Staying cloudy with persistent rain, heavy at times especially over southern and western fells with extensive hill fog. The best of any drier interludes in the far northeast. Storm force winds on the felltops. During the evening the rain should eventually die out.
Moderate to poor in rain with extensive hill fog, locally good in drier interludes in shelter at lower levels in northeast.
Widespread and persistent 450-600m and down to 300m at times in the south and west, perhaps lower near the west coast.
Wind at 500m
Southwest 65 gusts 85mph easing westerly 30mph gusts 40mph in the evening.
- Valleys/low level: Plus 9 Celsius, falling Plus 5 during the evening.
- At 900m: Plus 3 Celsius.
- Freezing level Above the summits.
Outlook for next few days
A dry start but cloud and outbreaks of rain, with snow above 700m, will arrive during the morning, this clearing to sunny intervals and occasional showers from mid afternoon. Strengthening southwesterly winds with gales on the tops by midday. Freezing level around 800-900m so a severe wind chill.
Clear or sunny intervals and further showers these turning to snow down to about 300m and wintry at times to low levels. Strong southwest winds on the tops and with freezing levels around 450m still a severe wind chill.
Another day of sunshine and showers, these mostly wintry. Less windy, but a strong northwesterly on the tops in the afternoon.