Predicting weather in the backcountry

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Exposure is the leading cause of death in the mountains. One of the skills that will help keep you out of trouble while in the backcountry is learning how to predict the weather.

Deep in the wilderness it's highly unlikely you'll be able to get updated local weather forecasts. Essentially, you must become your own forecaster.

Obviously predicting the weather is difficult - even for the local weatherman - and especially in the mountains. However, there are several things that can help hikers to better understand weather patterns.

One of those is learning how to identify cloud formations. Being able to assess the clouds approaching from a distance can help you determine if it's just a short front passing through, or a long lasting storm.

The most recent online issue of Backpacker Magazine has a very helpful article that explains how to identify the various cloud formations and what they mean. They even have a quiz to make sure you understood what you just read.

Having a little knowledge on weather forecasting could mean the difference between a great hike and a horrible one.

As far as keeping up with updated forecasts before heading into the Smokies, as well as finding historical climate information, please click here.


1 comment

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