Walkers on the Welsh hills and mountains are being offered a better weather service.
Enhanced weather forecasts are now available online for Snowdonia and the Brecon Beacons, with extra information to aid safety in the uplands. Welsh Assembly Government and Sports Council for Wales cash has made the improvements possible.
The Met Office Snowdonia forecast site
Welcome additions include wind and temperature information for 300m and 500m, as well as the 900m level previously available. Sunrise and sunset times are also shown, along with forecasts for visibility, freezing-level heights and weather hazards which were shown on standard forecasts.
The Met Office, which provides the service, said there will be a greater emphasis on wind-chill and, indeed, tomorrow’s 60mph gusts and near-freezing temperatures promise a significant factor.
One odd quirk is that, although the titles are bilingual – Welsh and English – the forecasts are in English only. This may not trouble most users but the Welsh Assembly Government may wish to query how its money is being spent.
This gripe aside, and the fact that a spell-check would have been useful before publishing the pages, it’s good to see an improvement in the quality of information provided for hillgoers. As the Met Office points out: “The weather in mountainous areas can exhibit extreme variation so checking the mountain forecast gives essential forewarning of the likely conditions on your chosen route. Our mountain forecasts are issued daily and cover daylight hours.”
Dave Robinson, head of government services, said: “These enhanced forecasts will enable hill walkers and mountain climbers to plan ahead which means that they can make the best of the weather and reduce the risk to their safety from adverse weather conditions.”
The Met Office mountain forecasts for the remaining areas of Britain – the Lake District, west Highlands and east Highlands, remain as they were, with the Lakes forecast still incorporating the first-hand winter fell-top condition reports from the two men who make the daily trip to the summit of Helvellyn.
Don’t forget, either, the ever-reliable Mountain Weather Information Service run by Geoff Monk and his team. All the weather links are on our left-hand menu. The new Welsh services can be viewed by visiting the Met Office mountain section and clicking on the enhanced forecast link.