Fell Top Conditions on Saturday 25 February
Readings from Helvellyn summit at 12:35
Temperature plus 3.7°C Maximum wind speed 41.7mph Wind chill minus 4.6°C Average wind speed 31.0mph Wind direction SW
There is an extensive thaw at all levels; it was plus 3 degrees and raining heavily on the summit (as it was everywhere else!!) Apart from insignificant, isolated patches of wet, thawing snow, there is now no snow below 700m. Even above 700m large areas of the Lakeland fells up to and including summit level are now free from snow. The snow that remains lies in sheltered spots and hollows and on north and east facing aspects where there are still drifts deep enough to swallow the shaft of a 55cm ice axe although such depth is definitely the exception. The snow is soft, wet and thawing – no hard snow or ice being encountered. This could change, though, with only a slight drop in temperature so walkers out on Sunday should be prepared to encounter ice at altitude.
Striding and Swirral Edges consisted of bare, wet rock with isolated patches of soft snow and slush. Conversely there was snow on their exits and on Striding Edge some of these were deep and unavoidable. Again the snow was soft, but an ice axe was useful here and would be essential should the temperature drop and the snow harden. This is the case for anyone attempting, or traversing, steep snow slopes at altitude – mainly on east and north facing aspects.
Despite the milder weather, the summit windchill remains below freezing so full winter clothing – including spare layers - footwear and equipment are essential for those venturing out onto the fells. At present, more rain is forecast for Sunday and given the amount that has, and is, currently falling even small watercourses could be difficult to cross. Something to bear in mind should your route involve fording a stream – especially in descent – as it might be advisable crossing it higher up the fell. The positive aspect about this weather is that the Lakeland Waterfalls are spectacular and well worth a visit !!
For those interested in the weather stats, there were stronger gusts of wind encountered on the ascent compared with the summit!
Met Office forecast for Sunday
Issued 26 February at 03:51
Mainly dry, bright start to Sunday. It will soon become cloudy with rain spreading to all parts from the west. The rain then persistent and turning heavy at times and falling as sleet or snow on highest tops. Also hill fog will become extensive with navigational difficulties. Very wet underfoot conditions with swollen watercourses.
Good overnight and first part of the morning. Visibility will reduce moderate or poor later in the morning, even very poor at times during afternoon and evening.
Patchy fog above 600M overnight and at first on Sunday. Fog will become extensive later in morning above about 400 to 500M with patches in the afternoon down to 300M, especially over the southern Lakes.
Wind at 500m
Southerly winds strengthening from dawn, average speeds of 25mph increasing 40mph with gusts 65mph over higher ridges/summits.
- Valleys/low level: Plus 3 Celsius at dawn rising to 9 Celsius by early afternoon.
- At 900m: Plus 3 Celsius falling to minus 1 Celsius during the evening.
- Freezing level: Above the summits but lowering to 700M during the evening.
- from time.is
Storm force winds
Low risk - Possible over highest tops for a time late morning.
High risk - Across all higher ridges and summits.
Severe chill effect
High risk - Combination of rain/sleet, low temperatures and strong winds.
Persistent extensive hill fog
High risk - Becoming extensive above 400 - 500M during morning, persisting during afternoon/evening.
Heavy persistent rain
Forecast for Monday
A drier, brighter and less windy day across the Lake District National Park. Not completely dry as there will be scattered showers which will fall as snow above about 400M but also some sunshine in between the showers.
Very good away from showers.
Occasional fog above about 500 to 600M becoming more extensive as showers pass by.
Wind at 500m
Strong southwest winds at first, average speeds of 30 mph gusts 50. Winds becoming southerly and decreasing 20mph during the day.
- Valleys/low level: Plus 2 Celsius at dawn rising to 8 Celsius.
- At 900m: Minus 2 Celsius.
- Freezing level 700M
Outlook for next few days
Another day of sunny intervals and scattered sleet and snow showers. Feeling cold with significant wind-chill as northwesterly winds strengthen across the tops during the afternoon.
A cold day with some sunshine and wintry showers gradually dying out. Fresh northwest winds on the summits.
A lot of dry, bright, cold weather with some sunshine and light winds. Still a few light snow flurries.