Mountain weather

Northwest Highlands

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Northwest Highlands Mountain weather forecast table

Confidence

High for unsettled and windy conditions and for a rather cold and showery spell followed by milder conditions from mid-week, but lower confidence for timings of heavier showers, amounts of cloud and rain arrival Wednesday.

This evening forecast

Sunrise:
Sunset:

Heavy and rather persistent rain, with snow above 700m. Gale or severe gale southwest winds turning westerly later

Sunrise:
Sunset:
Mountain hazards

Mountain weather hazards

Hazards apply at or above 300m, reflecting the more severe conditions which can occur at altitude.

hazard Blizzards
Blizzards and whiteouts present challenging and serious conditions due to a combination of falling or blowing snow, strong winds and cold temperatures. They can be highly disorientating, often resulting in near-zero visibility with limited or no visual references and no distinction between ground and sky. Cliff edges and cornices may not be apparent, even close up. These conditions require very good navigational skills.
hazard Heavy snow
Heavy snow can lead to rapid changes in underfoot conditions and paths may become treacherous or hidden. It also brings very poor visibility and often makes navigation much more challenging. When deep snow accumulates progress is often time consuming and strenuous, significantly affecting the distance one can travel on foot. Deep drifts can develop if snow is combined with strong winds. A heightened avalanche risk is possible and avalanche reports should be consulted where available.
hazard Gales
Gale force winds (gusts over 50mph) make walking difficult and strenuous with a potential to be blown over by gusts. There is often a marked increase in winds through cols or on exposed ridges and summits. Distances can take longer to cover and compass bearings become harder to follow accurately.
hazard Severe chill effect
Wind significantly lowers the ‘feels-like’ temperature relative to the actual temperature, with even moderate winds significantly adding to the chilling effect. Strong winds can result in a severe and debilitating wind chill many degrees below the actual temperature. This effect will be enhanced in rain or wet snow. Without protection, prolonged exposure could result in frost nip or frostbite on exposed parts of the body and/or hypothermia.

hazard Storm force winds
Storm force winds (gusts over 70mph) make walking very strenuous with any mobility virtually impossible over exposed ground. Where these conditions occur there is a high risk of being blown over and even standing may be impossible at times with a risk of being blown off one’s feet. Basic tasks such as using a map, eating, putting on extra clothing or communication become extremely difficult away from any shelter.
hazard Poor visibility
Poor visibility presents challenging route finding conditions. Visibility could be significantly less than 50 metres in all directions with few or no visual references, especially on featureless moors or plateaux. Distances become hard to judge and cliff or cornice edges can be difficult to recognise. These conditions require good navigational skills. There is a risk of white-out conditions when mist or fog is combined with extensive snow cover.

hazard Thunderstorms
Lightning is a significant mountain hazard which can result in serious injury or death. Mountain terrain often leaves one highly exposed to lightning strikes. Hail may give unpleasant conditions with torrential rain and localised flash flooding also possible, mainly in Summer months.
hazard Heavy persistent rain
Heavy and persistent rain can lead to drenched clothing and footwear with waterproofs often becoming soaked through, especially if accompanied by strong winds. This can lead to significant loss of body heat and an increased likelihood of hypothermia. Terrain may turn increasingly boggy underfoot while streams can flood and become impassable. There may also be a risk of flooding in valleys or glens. If there is snow cover, a heightened avalanche hazard is possible and avalanche reports should be consulted where available.

Mountain weather forecast

Some bright spells, but with frequent, heavy showers, some with hail and thunder and turning increasingly as snow to modest hill level. Windy and rather cold.

Wind direction and speed (mph)
Altitude above mean sea level
Wind gust (mph)
Altitude above mean sea level

Altitude above mean sea level

Altitude above mean sea level

Additional weather information

Weather

Rain and summit snow will turn more showery through the night with the odd clear spell breaking through. Then some bright spells, but a mostly cloudy, windy day with rather frequent heavy showers, some with hail and thunder, especially over The Cuillin and western coastal ranges, where showers likely to merge to give longer spells of rain and snow. Snow falling down to 600m in the morning and 450m by dusk, with blizzard conditions at times.

Chance of cloud-free mountain/hill tops at 800m

Almost nil in early hours, then 10-30% through the day with frequent cloud down to 500 or 600m, but 400m towards western coastal ranges.

Visibility

Good out of cloud, but often poor or very poor at height in snow and almost nil in heavy snow and blizzard conditions, bringing navigational difficulty.

Met Office Aberdeen meteorologist's view

Blustery and gusty winds and average speeds at lower levels likely stronger then shown on tables, by around 10mph, winds on higher and more exposed slopes may gust to 80 or 90 mph in showers. Hazardous conditions at height with snow, blizzards and very strong, buffeting winds and almost impossible mobility on the higher slopes. A severe chill.

Sunrise:
Sunset:

Mountain weather information

Weather

Further heavy and wintry showers, then another windy, rather cloudy day. Some bright or perhaps sunny spells, but with occasional showers, some with hail and thunder and falling as snow down to 300 or 400m. Blizzard conditions and a severe chill again.

Chance of cloud-free mountain/hill tops at 800m

20-40% with periods of cloud down to 500 or 600m, but 400m over western coastal ranges. Best chance of any breaks over Caithness and Easter Ross.

Maximum wind speed expected

Westerly 35-45 gust 60mph, veering northwest 35 gust 45mph in evening

Temperature

  • At 800m Minus 4 C
  • Glen Zero to minus 2 C in sheltered glens, rising to plus 4 or 5 C
  • Freezing level 500-600m

Visibility

Very good out of cloud, but often poor or very poor at height.

Mountain weather information

Wednesday 19 February

Sunrise:
Sunset:

Showers dying out overnight and northwest winds will ease. Then a dry, quite bright start but cloud increasing from the west in morning as southwesterly gales develop, with occasionally heavy rain in the afternoon, falling as snow initially on the tops, but freezing level rising

Thursday 20 February

Sunrise:
Sunset:

Heavy rain clearing overnight, then some bright spells with gale force northwest winds, but frequent heavy and possibly thundery showers, turning increasingly to snow, down to 200m by the end of the day

Friday 21 February

Sunrise:
Sunset:

Becoming cloudier by the morning with gale or severe gale force southwest winds driving in spells of rain, this heavy and prolonged across the northwest, with a spell of snow on the tops at first.

Updated at:

The Cuillin Hills on the Isle of Skye are among the steepest mountains in the UK and include 15 peaks above 3,000 feet (900 metres). There are two main ridges; the magnificent Black Cuillins and the Red Cuillins around Loch Coruisk to the south.

Torridon has some of the most spectacular mountain scenery in Scotland which includes Beinn Eighe, a long ridge with many spurs and summits, two of which are classified as Munros. Beinne Eighe also includes Britain's first ever national nature reserve where you may spot golden eagles, buzzards, pine martins and wild cats on your travels.

For snow and avalanche hazard forecasts please visit Sportscotland Avalanche Information Service

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