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Fell Top Conditions on Monday 26 February

Readings from Helvellyn summit at 11:41

Temperature minus 2.3°C Maximum wind speed 32.2mph Wind chill minus 12.3°C Average wind speed 23.8mph Wind direction NE

A slowly improving day with hill cloud clearing and windspeeds dropping off in the afternoon. Colder overnight temperatures have frozen any wet snow that thawed yesterday, and more ice and frozen ground was present today above 700m. Rime ice was also beginning to form on many cold windward surfaces above this altitude.

The snowline remains at roughly 600m, and although snow cover is generally thin, drifts of around 50cm and deeper are present in sheltered areas, most notably around north and east-facing corrie rims where small cornices have formed in some places.

Sunny south-facing slopes have lost the most snow cover, and are often a mixture of snow and exposed ground, whereas shaded north-facing slopes still have more continuous cover.

Steep and exposed routes such as the Helvellyn edges are in winter condition although with plenty of exposed rock along the crests.

Snow on popular routes (such as these) has been compressed and is now quite icy, requiring care and good judgment. Microspikes are advisable as a minimum.

More unsettled conditions are forecast tomorrow with rain, sleet, and snow all possible. Anyone heading out tomorrow should anticipate more snow than is described here.

Full winter clothing (warm and waterproof) including hats and gloves, and equipment including a map, compass, and headtorch are all essential. Goggles may also be a sensible addition to your rucksack for navigating and route finding in challenging conditions.

For anyone attempting routes over steep and exposed ground, an ice axe and crampons/microspikes are strongly recommended.

Lake District Forecast for Wednesday

Mainly dry through the morning with some early brightness but increasing cloud brings outbreaks of occasionally heavy rain, preceded initially by sleet and snow above about 750m, around midday, the rain then continuing through the rest of the day.

Visibility

Occasional or periods of cloud above 600-750m developing by midday then periods or persistent above about 450-600m, with patches below, by mid-afternoon. Away from cloud visibility very good falling to several kilometres in rain and perhaps a kilometre in any snow on higher fells.

Chance of cloud free hill

Close to 100% at first then 60% by midday and near zero mid-afternoon.

Wind

Southwesterly 15-20mph backing southerly 25-30mph through afternoon, gusts around 60mph over ridges and summits in the evening.

Temperatures

  • Valley: Around plus 1 or 2 Celsius at dawn rising to plus 9 Celsius
  • At 800m: Around zero rising to plus 4 Celsius
  • Freezing level: Around 800m rising above the summits by early afternoon.

Outlook for next few days

Thursday 29 February

Rain clearing overnight then sunny spells and wintry showers, risk of more persistent evening rain and summit snow. Strong southwesterly winds and summit gales. Freezing level falling to 600m, rising later.

Friday 01 March

Overnight rain clearing then sunny spells and wintry showers. Strong southwesterly winds turning westerly and easing. Freezing level falling to 450m but rising 900m later.

Saturday 02 March

Clear or sunny spells and a few wintry showers. Light and variable winds. Freezing level falling to around 600m.

An overview of weather in the Lake District

Summer:

The summer season in the Lake District actually runs from March to October. The driest period runs between March and June.

The weather is renowned for changing rapidly and rainfall is a predominant feature. The wettest area in the Lake District is known as Sprinkling Tarn which receives approximately 5000mm of rainfall every year!

Winter:

The wettest months run from October to January.

Snowfall typically falls from November to March. The valleys of the Lake District receive around 20 days of snow and 200 days of rain per year.

Enjoy the fells safely on a winter skills course