Stormy and snowy Wednesday... Thursday and Friday might be good!
After a mild and increasingly windy Tuesday with the FL sitting around the higher tops, the temperature will drop back through the early hours. All areas will see new snow, but the heaviest falls are likely to be in the West, 20 to 30cm of snow possible by dusk Thursday.
PIX: Lots more photos from recent days in the Public Reports
Strong and strengthening winds restricted uplift on Tuesday, particularly on CairnGorm and Nevis, where the uplift was limited to the lower mountain tows (apart from the Funicular), but Glenshee also had some of the further out tows off and Glencoe though open to the top was forced into an early end to play because of strengthening crosswinds on the Access Chair. With strong winds and snow forecast, please keep up to date with the very latest from the areas in the morning if you are planning a Wednesday slide.
It actually turned out a bit better than was expected overhead wise in the West, and the snow on the upper mountain at Glencoe was great soft fresh snow giving easy turns in the Main Basin, it was a blast with the strengthening tail wind later. Plateau was a bit slow and sticky, but the snow actually got better again coming down the low level Access Run. Both the red fence line and the unmarked black down the various natural gullies to skiers left of the river were seeing action and both are still doable to the carpark at 1200ft meaning 2400ft of vertical was getting done.
The Lecht and Glenshee had the brightest overhead and the Lecht was the most sheltered yet again, with good riding between the fences on softening snow giving a good day out. Glenshee and the Lecht may well be the best shot at slightly better overhead and less wind on Wednesday, but blowing snow could well mean issues on the Access Roads, so check the latest in the morning and be prepared! At the very least put a shovel in the put when driving in wintry conditions and if you can lay our hands on some old rubber footwell mats, they can be a useful aid to getting moving again!
The West obviously has the advantage of lower access roads, but the wind speeds are likely to affect uplift and limit operations if not prevent play altogether. With fairly persistent snow fall expected in the West overhead conditions are likely to be atrocious at higher elevations and that as much as windspeed alone will be a problem.
All areas should see new snow tomorrow and through the remainder of the week, but the heaviest falls are expected to be in the West. 20 to 30 cm of snow is predicted across the forecast models, the Euro 4 mesoscale model is the most gung ho tonight, suggesting accumulated snow fall approaching 50cm for some locations in the West by Thursday afternoon. Once the initial front passes through where the clusters of snow showers hit will lead to quite localised variations in snow fall, though most highland mountains should get upwards of 10-15cm.
Severe drifting will accompany the snow during Wednesday so today's reports should be historical information by the time the wind eases up, which could be Thursday, though there is a bit of doubt about that due to the lighter winds coming from being in the centre of a depression. A relatively small change in track and timing could mean it being a good deal windier, so be sure to keep a close eye on the mountain forecasts, but there is a chance Thursday and Friday could turnout good!
In Southern Scotland, Lowther Hills Ski Club has had the 130m green run at Leadhills Golf Course open for over a week with good conditions, but thaw conditions set in over the weekend. Colder conditions with snow showers forecast for the week ahead. Club members will get updates by email.
In England Allenheads managed a full day on Sunday, but rain had set in by close. Thus Yad Moss, Weardale and Allenheads all require new snow to get up and running again.
Yad Moss: www.yadmoss.co.uk
Lake District Ski Club did run the Raise Poma on Monday, but it will not operate on Tuesday or Wednesday. Check for updates mid-week. Lake District Ski Club requires you to be a member to use the Raise Poma due to insurance requirements given it's very remote location and significant walk in that is required. See website at http://www.ldscsnowski.co.uk/
for details, you can pay at the engine shed, but please bring a completed membership form. You can also join online and pay by paypal.
CAIRNGORM: SSC Hut webcams including the White Lady cam are back online with new hardware, but signal is flaky and image upload has been a bit erratic the last couple of days. Sorry, no weather data is available from the SSC Hut at this time.
Ptarmigan tow webcam is functioning, but currently has no 3G connection. Occasional random images are getting out, but none came through on Tuesday.
GLENCOE: Some of the network and phone issues have now been resolved and the Top of the Access Webcam and various zooms of the upper mountain, plus the SSC Hut webcam are now back online. If weather permits we hope to be able to get weather data back from the SSC Hut and Summit before the end of the week. Wireless antenna and coaxial cabling need to be replaced at the summit as damage is allowing water ingress which is attenuating the radio signal, causing the link to fail in above freezing temperatures.
Temperature will start to drop back down through the early hours of Wednesday, snow will fall to progressively lower levels overnight and through the first part of the morning to be generally falling at all levels of the snowsports areas and at most levels at least away from costal areas. A cold day with the temperature at Munro Level dropping to -6 or -7°c in the West by early afternoon, around -5°c in the East.
Snow fall will continue to come in behind the cold front as clusters of snow showers, these will merge into more persistent spells of snow in the West, snow streamers are likely to set up but exactly where is a wait and see job, slight changes in local wind can have quite an effect. Westerly 40 gusting 60mph, but gusts 75mph frequent near and on the Cairngorm Plateau. Wind speeds could pick up markedly in heaviest snow showers and there will be a risk of thunderstorms.
A low will travel across Highland Scotland on Thursday, timing will be critical to whether it's pretty wild or relatively calm, but latest indications look as if it should be blustery but probably OK for at least a reasonable range of uplift, providing the East Coast access roads are OK. Check detailed mountain forecasts closely over the next couple of days. Snow showers will be heaviest in the West and could be thundery again. Freezing at most if not all levels inland with -6°c expected at Munro Level.
More snow likely on Friday, focused initially on Western mountains, the heavier and more persistent snow showers due to transfer to the Northern Cairngorms in the NW wind. Generally 20 gusting 40mph on Western Mountains, and possibly less at the West Coast snowsport areas due to topographic shelter from NW winds. Fresher in the East on current model output, 30 gusting 50mph generally.
There is some diagreement about wind speeds for the weekend, Saturday is looking windier than it was on some model output tonight, but those showing strongest winds have a NW direction, which would favour the West Coast areas, Nevis particularly is surprisingly sheltered from NW winds below the Summit. With the West progged to get the most snow it could well be that it's shaping up to be another weekend where West is best.
Check the MWIS and Met Office Mountain forecasts for the latest detailed area mountain weather outlooks.
Glencoe: 01855 851226 www.glencoemountain.co.uk
Nevis Range: 01397 705825 www.nevisrange.co.uk
Lecht: 01975 651440 www.lecht.co.uk
CairnGorm: 01479 861261 www.cairngormmountain.co.uk
Glenshee: 013397 41320 www.ski-glenshee.co.uk