Fell Top Conditions on Tuesday 28 March
Readings from Helvellyn summit at 12:25
Temperature plus 6.5°C Maximum wind speed 17.6mph Wind chill plus 1.2°C Average wind speed 12.9mph Wind direction SSW
The thaw continues at all levels for the fifth consecutive day, although it has been especially pronounced over the past 24 hours probably helped by warmer overnight temperatures. Little snow now remains below 650m. Even above 650m, large areas of the Lakeland Fells up to and including summit level are now free from snow; especially on aspects that have caught the most sun – predominantly south facing. That said, a significant amount of snow still remains, especially above 750m. Where the snowpack has been undisturbed by the passage of boots, it is soft, wet and still relatively deep in sheltered hollows and where it has drifted. The underfoot conditions on paths varies considerably. Below the snowline they are mainly dry. Above the snowline, they can be either dry or wet where the snow has thawed. Where the snow has been compacted, however, there are patches of harder snow and ice making conditions more treacherous, especially where the ground is steep. An example of this on Monday was near Brown Cove on the “easy” route up Helvellyn from Swirrls. An ice axe remains strongly recommended for such sections especially in descent.
There has been a significant thaw along Swirral and Striding Edges with the majority of both edges now consisting of dry rock and there are almost, but not completely, snow free routes along the length and exits of both of them.
Although there is a proliferation of shorts and tee shirts in the valleys, the summit conditions are not so conducive to such apparel as the windchill was around zero degrees. Consequentially, full waterproofs (doubling as windproofs), extra layers, mountain boots and equipment remain essential for those venturing out onto the fells. Although the majority of the snowpack was soft, wet and thawing today (and probably will be again on Wednesday with the current forecasted rain), it would only take a slight drop in temperature for the existing snow to harden and slush to re-freeze, so walkers out on the highest fells on Wednesday (especially any early risers) should be prepared and equipped to encounter hard snow and ice.
Met Office forecast for Wednesday
Issued 29 March at 03:13
Cloud thickening through the morning with extensive hill fog developing onto western slopes and also becoming rather murky as more prolonged rain spreads from the west. Remaining cloudy with further rain through the afternoon and evening with some heavy rain at times, especially over the west of the Park. Still cloudy with rain through the evening although some drier interludes will develop.
Generally moderate or good but becoming poor at times as rain edges in.
Broken or blanket 700m occasionally 400m over the east of the Park, though more especially at first on Wednesday and later Wednesday evening, Otherwise generally extensive fog above about 500m but down to 200 or 300m over western fells at times.
Wind at 500m
West to Southwesterly 25mph gusts 35mph overnight, becoming South to Southwesterly in the morning and increasing 30mph gusts 40mph. Later in the day Southwesterly winds will increase 35mph gusts 50mph over higher peaks.
- Valleys/low level: Plus 7 Celsius rising to 12 Celsius.
- At 900m: Plus 6 Celsius
- Freezing level: Above the summits.
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Storm force winds
High risk - Over higher aspects later
Severe chill effect
Low risk - With strengthening winds and rain some chill effect despite quite mild temperatures
Persistent extensive hill fog
High risk - Especially across western fells
Heavy persistent rain
Medium risk - Most likely in west in afternoon
Forecast for Thursday
Mostly cloudy with outbreaks of rain overnight, but drier by morning, with then some bright spells across the Park and perhaps some sunshine over eastern parts. Cloud will thicken again from the west to bring further rain by lunchtime, with again some heavy rain at times. Staying cloudy and wet through the afternoon with extensive hill fog, but becoming mostly dry through the evening and cloud will lift a little.
Moderate or poor in general although mostly good for a time through the morning.
Generally extensive fog above 500m but down to 300m over western fells. Lifting to between 600 and 800m for a time in the morning with eastern areas seeing more patchy fog. Later in the evening fog will lift and begin to break up.
Wind at 500m
Southwesterly 30 to 35mph gusts 45mph,
- Valleys/low level: Plus 7 Celsius rising to 13 Celsius.
- At 900m: Plus 6 Celsius.
- Freezing level Above the summits.
Outlook for next few days
Mainly cloudy, but a mostly dry morning, before outbreaks of rain spread from the west. Again some heavy rain, especially onto western fells with rather extensive hill fog too. Gale force south to southwesterly winds over higher aspects but easing later in the day.
A brighter day with some sunny spells, but with scattered showers. Some heavy showers, especially onto western slopes, but becoming mainly dry by the end of the afternoon. Fresh southwesterly winds turning northwesterly and falling light through the afternoon.
A dry day with bright or sunny spells and light winds at all levels, although fresher southwesterly winds later in the day.