mountain-forecast.com

regehr

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Mar 28, 2012
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I just ran across this site the other day:
and it appeared to provide good, actionable info for my King's peak trip. anyone else use it, or have a preferred site?
my previous technique of "look at forecast for towns near the mountains" never worked that well.
 
I always use weather.gov. You can enter a lot of outdoor destinations (e.g, "kings peak", "Druid Arch", etc) or click on a point in the map. Then click "hourly weather forecast" for detailed breakdown of wind, sky cover, humidity, precip chance, etc. From what I've heard, this tends to be more accurate than mountain-forecast.com (in the continental US anyway)
 
Weather.gov has been my go to, as well. Might try out mountain-forecast.com a bit to compare.
 
I've used mountain-forecast a bit, but have not found it any more accurate in Alberta than my extrapolations of the Environment Canada forecasts which typically don't cover the actual mountains. If anything, here in the Canadian Rockies I find that mountain forecast often overstates precipitation especially in winter, and forecasts lower temps than what actually occur. I also use https://spotwx.com a bit, but have not noticed any drastic improvement in forecast reliability, despite a friend of mine stating that "it has to be more accurate as it is a point forecast". It's still based on models which may or may not reflect reality, without any local knowledge. Which is why I often rely on one of our local tv news weather guys for his hands on, local experience interpretation of the modelling. On our fall Utah desert trips I rely on Weather.gov and have found that to be pretty accurate.
 
Weather.gov.....thunk everyone else uses the data from them as it's noaa
 
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Use it for actual peak forecasts at elevation, yes. Decently accurate.
 
mountain-forecast seems to work well for the NE Appalachians. At least 0-3 days, which is reasonable. I use weather.gov out West. More detail but after a few days out not sure how dependable even weather.gov is.

What's the best for weather forecast when already in the backcountry? Was impressed last year when we ran into a group of fisherman that let us know the storm was predicted to be over by 9 am the next day. It was spot on. Think he said it was Dark Sky (maybe on inReach Mini?)
 
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I've looked at Mountain Forecast many a time but never found it any more helpful than the products available from weather.gov.

A few of those NWS products that I find particularly helpful:

1) Forecast Discussion - provides commentary on the "why" of the weather, as well as additional "what" - e.g. confidence in their forecasts, any divergence in models, and expected intensity of the weather systems - does that 30% of rain mean sprinkles, or possible downpours? Invaluable for outdoor travelers IMO.

2) Zone forecasts. These are often issued for high-elevation areas. There are also point-forecasts available, but I often find that those forecasts are too specific especially for the vagaries of mountainous terrain. I often see folks swearing that 'rain won't come til 4pm' because the forecast has a 10% chance of rain at 3pm, but a 70% chance at 4pm. If I read the zone forecast and the forecast discussion and know that pre-frontal showers will develop ahead of the main push of cold air from the NE, if I see clouds building at the head of NE-facing valleys at 2pm, I'm not oging to wait for the frontal surge to get out of the narrow canyon I'm in.
 
I've been using their site for quite a few years, both for US and international trips. I like how they break down the elevation forecasts. As of late I've also been using Meteoblue (includes prediction confidence), but sometimes their point of interest search rankings are crappy b/c they go by popularity of search to rank. I like how how the format is aimed at data/weather nerds.

Of note, the Inreach weather forecast (powered by Dark Sky), was wildly inaccurate on a recent trip to the Wind River Range. I haven't used the feature much, but tried it out to decide whether to do a late afternoon push over a pass or wait until the next day.
 
the Inreach weather forecast (powered by Dark Sky), was wildly inaccurate on a recent trip to the Wind River Range.

Good to know. Definitely worked last year - Winds, Popo Agie area. ForecastWatch rates the most popular sites, but it's heavily biased towards populated areas. DarkSky is 76% vs Accuweather 78% and WeatherChannel/WeatherUnderground at 80%. Wouldn't surprise me to find out most satellite messengers use the same sources.
 
It's a decade old now, but Nate Silver's book, The Signal and the Noise: Why So Many Predictions Fail-but Some Don't, had an interesting chapter on forecast predictions. According to the book, even after decades of technological improvements, for forecasts > 8 days you're better off using the historical average. He also discussed bias in weather predictions in sites that have commercial interest at stake (e.g. if you run ski vacation ads, it's in your interest to bias toward positive snow forecasts).
 
Good to know. Definitely worked last year - Winds, Popo Agie area. ForecastWatch rates the most popular sites, but it's heavily biased towards populated areas. DarkSky is 76% vs Accuweather 78% and WeatherChannel/WeatherUnderground at 80%. Wouldn't surprise me to find out most satellite messengers use the same sources.
Everyone gets the same data from feds and their satellites. (NOAA).. Only difference is interpretation....
 
@Bob is right, and I am like @LarryBoy in that the general discussion and zone forecasts are helpful when there is something coming through that impacts trip planning, for the sequence of events. It is actually why I like meteoblue the best. They have "meteograms" that have all the different models with their probabilities.
(I only really look at those because it reminds me of complicated homework we had to do in both meteorology classes back at USU...)

The meteoblue app has annoying ads, so there is that downside.
 
It may not help if you're already in the backcountry, but I just discovered that GaiaGPS (app and web) now has current temps and forecasts for any marked location you click/tap. Says it's powered by OpenSnow, Not sure how accurate it is, but worth looking into if you are already using Gaia.
 
It may not help if you're already in the backcountry, but I just discovered that GaiaGPS (app and web) now has current temps and forecasts for any marked location you click/tap. Says it's powered by OpenSnow, Not sure how accurate it is, but worth looking into if you are already using Gaia.
OpenSnow is complete clickbait garbage. Does Gaia have NWS as well? I've actually never checked.

Equivalently, Caltopo also grabs point-forecasts from NWS.
 
OpenSnow is complete clickbait garbage. Does Gaia have NWS as well? I've actually never checked.
I'd never heard of it before seeing it in Gaia. I checked the settings and didn't see any options to change the source.

Perhaps it came along with some partnership after Outside magazine purchased Gaia. Starting to get the commercialization vibe from Gaia after that took place.
 
I use it for Mount Rainier and St. Helens and it's a lot more accurate than regular weather pages who are mostly totally off when it comes to rain, fog, and wind.
I really like the zone forecasts depending on where you wanna go. The Mount Saint Helens summit forecast was spot on for the day I summited.
 
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