The Lake District weather forecast
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 Monday
Issued 30 March at 03:58
Generally dry with the occasional shower to start. During the afternoon a band of rain moves across from the southwest, this possibly falling as sleet over the highest peaks at first. This rain will persist at times and will continue overnight, though becoming patchy.
0600 to 0900
Sunny intervals 10% chance of precipitation
0900 to 1200
Medium-level cloud 20% chance of precipitation
1200 to 1500
Heavy Rain 70% chance of precipitation
1500 to 1800
Light rain 60% chance of precipitation
1800 to 2100
Light rain 30% chance of precipitation
2100 to 2400
Light rain 30% chance of precipitation
Generally good but poor in any snow showers. Becoming moderate in the afternoon as rain moves in.
Occasional patches down to 500m, lifting for a time during the morning. Becoming persistent down to 500m, with patches down to 200m as the band of rain passes. Lifting again to leave occasional patches down to 500m by the evening.
Wind at 500m
Westerly 45-50mph gusting 75-80mph by the evening.
- Valleys/low level: Plus 2 Celsius rising to plus 10 Celsius during the day, before dropping down to plus 4 Celsius.
- At 900m: Minus 4 Celsius rising to plus 2 Celsius by the evening.
- Freezing level: Around 300m, rising above the summits during the evening as the band of rain passes.
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Storm force winds
Medium risk - Consistent gusts up to 80mph expected during the evening.
High risk - Gusts over 50mph expected for most of the day.
Severe chill effect
Medium risk - Strong winds and persistent rain will lead to a increased chill effect.
Persistent extensive hill fog
High risk - Persistent hill fog down to 500m expected until the late afternoon.
Heavy persistent rain
Medium risk - Rain will become more persistent for a time during the afternoon.
Forecast for Tuesday
Patchy rain at first, clearing during the early hours. The odd shower likely throughout the day, these will fall as rain at lower levels and snow over the higher peaks at first. However, snow will also fall to lower levels by the evening. Breaks between showers will give some sunny spells, though these making little impact on the wind chill.
Moderate in rain at first becoming good as this clears but falling to moderate in any rain showers and poor in snow showers.
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
Westerly 45-50mph with gusts up to 75mph
- Valleys/low level: Plus 4 Celsius, rising to plus 8 Celsius during the day, and falling to plus 2 Celsius again by the evening.
- At 900m: Plus 1 Celsius falling to minus 3 Celsius.
- Freezing level Above the summits, then falling to 300m during the day.
Outlook for next few days
Showers mainly in the northwest, with some sunnier spells in the southeast. Showers will be wintry to mid levels, but will die out through the afternoon. Further northwesterly gales expected through the morning but easing during the afternoon. Freezing level around 400m.
Cloudy with patchy rain during the afternoon, which may be sleety over the highest summits. 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.
Cloudy with outbreaks of rain throughout the day. Light and variable winds becoming moderate northwesterly. Freezing level above the summits.