It is already more than three weeks ago wenn I was in the Jura Bernois in Switzerland for the Mountain Leader Cours. The main topic of the weekend was the weather forecast. Important, especially in the Alps because the mountains have a big influence on the weather and therefore it can differ a lot per location. And, really important, it can change very quickly.
The first thing to know, it is impossible to predict the weather exactly. There are too many parameters (a lot of them we don’t even know) which affect it. Meteorologists have to use simplified models to make a prediction but this doesn’t give you a 100% certainty about it. The most important thing is that you know how to interpreter the given forecasts.
So how do you make a prognosis?
Check the general weather forecast. A good website is www.meteoswiss.ch. You can read the general weather report. This gives general information about the high and low pressure areas in Europe and upcoming warm or cold fronts and the influence on the general weather in this case, Switzerland.
Check the local weather forecast. You can use www.meteoswiss.ch again or use a weather App. Read the forecast for your local area.
Look outside! What do you see now, are there any clouds, is it raining or do you see a clear blue sky. Is this the same as what they have predicted or is it for example raining earlier. Ask local people about typical weather appearances.
Keep on checking during your hike or run. Do you see any chances, do you see clouds coming in or is the wind getting stronger.
You can use this of course also in other countries and using other weather forecast websites and applications.
I would also like to talk a little bit about an interesting phenomena. The “cold front”. Exactly this weekend during the course a cold front came in! They are in general pretty well predicted, the question is just how strong they will be on the location where you are on that moment. Especially in summer you should be aware of them. They give a really fast weather chance often in combination with heavy thunder storms and wind gales.
Cold air is entering and because it is heavier as warm air it moves underneath it and presses the warm air up. The uprising warm air cooles down and (rain)clouds will be formed. This can eventually form the cumulonimbus cloud with heavy rain and thunder as a result.
Signs you will notice:
The air pressure will collapse quickly
You will see dark clouds coming in
The wind will get stronger
You can sometimes see a cumulonimbus cloud
The weather chances really quick!
After the front came in, it is often followed by some more precipitation.
So be aware when you are going to hike or run in the mountains. Keep in mind that the weather can chance very quickly so you should bring appropriate clothing and adjust your route to it.
Of course the weather is much more complicated as described above but I hope these little tips will help you by planning your next hike or run!