Weather Forecast

Need a climbing partner? Trying to form a hiking group for an outing?
Forum rules
Please do not use this forum to advertise, sell photos or other products or promote a commercial website. For more details, please see the Terms of Use you agreed to when joining the forum.
User avatar
JChitwood
Posts: 495
Joined: 8/29/2011
14ers: 58
13ers: 43

Re: Weather Forecast

Post by JChitwood »

I always regret starting early since every step before 9 am is misery to me and more often than not the NOAA’s 80% chance of rain never materializes. When I start in the dark there is half a chance I’m turning back by 10 due to weakness and feeling lousy. Just not a morning person.
"I'll make it." - Jimmy Chitwood
User avatar
GregMiller
Posts: 986
Joined: 6/16/2011
14ers: 36 4 1
13ers: 28
Trip Reports (5)

Re: Weather Forecast

Post by GregMiller »

JChitwood wrote: Tue Jul 27, 2021 4:40 pm I always regret starting early since every step before 9 am is misery to me and more often than not the NOAA’s 80% chance of rain never materializes. When I start in the dark there is half a chance I’m turning back by 10 due to weakness and feeling lousy. Just not a morning person.
Yeah, definitely a person-by-person thing. I’m definitely an early-start person, and have no issues with it, but my wife is not. Usually means I’m the one doing all the early driving to TH’s.
Still Here
been scared and battered. My hopes the wind done scattered. Snow has friz me, Sun has baked me,
Looks like between 'em they done Tried to make me
Stop laughin', stop lovin', stop livin'-- But I don't care! I'm still here!
Langston Hughes
User avatar
nyker
Posts: 2784
Joined: 12/6/2007
14ers: 58
13ers: 22
Trip Reports (69)

Re: Weather Forecast

Post by nyker »

Nitantp7 wrote: Tue Jul 27, 2021 2:21 pm Hi Everyone, fairly new to 14ers but experienced hiker.

We are planning to do Mt Elbert this Saturday. There's rain warning after 3 PM according to mountain-forecast.com. I'd assume it as noon.

My question is - is it still a good idea to start at 3:30 AM and get back before noon or just avoid risk altogether?

--
Thanks :)
Welcome Nitantp7 -
In the mountains, starting earlier gives you more time, more options and allows you to wait it out in case any bad weather is temporary. If your group is on the slower side, it allows for some time for that as well if weather holds.
Starting later, you lose some of those options.
At this time of year, the main risk up there is an electrical storm coming in while you are above tree line or even a summer snowstorm/whiteout coming in.
While there are no guarantees, I'd vote for starting earlier to help increase the chances of your successful summit bid.
If you are slower or not well acclimatized, 3:30am start sounds good, or at the very least should help you secure a parking space on a Saturday for Elbert!
Nitantp7
Posts: 3
Joined: 7/13/2021
14ers: 4

Re: Weather Forecast

Post by Nitantp7 »

Thank you for thoughtful responses, everyone!

I feel the CO support :-D :bicep:

Thank you @supranihilest. @GregMiller, @mountainlover1553 (loved the knowledge; I made notes :p), @sbenfield, @mtree, @nyker :)
User avatar
bdloftin77
Posts: 627
Joined: 9/23/2013
14ers: 58 1
13ers: 58
Trip Reports (2)

Re: Weather Forecast

Post by bdloftin77 »

Btw for this weekend:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4IJqSm04_RA
(Chris Tomer forecast - heavy monsoon moisture)
User avatar
Been_Jammin
Posts: 95
Joined: 2/5/2019
14ers: 50 1 1

Re: Weather Forecast

Post by Been_Jammin »

That Chris Tomer forecast is legit. Thanks for sharing. I smashed that subscribe button.
User avatar
bdloftin77
Posts: 627
Joined: 9/23/2013
14ers: 58 1
13ers: 58
Trip Reports (2)

Re: Weather Forecast

Post by bdloftin77 »

Been_Jammin wrote: Thu Jul 29, 2021 9:39 am That Chris Tomer forecast is legit. Thanks for sharing. I smashed that subscribe button.
Yeah, he posts a lot of good stuff! Sometimes about smoke and thunderstorms, and often in the winter about winter storms, mountain snow, and skiing conditions. I follow him on facebook.

Here's today's update:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4DbKEua5LFA
User avatar
Scott P
Posts: 8564
Joined: 5/4/2005
14ers: 51 16
13ers: 44 13
Trip Reports (16)
Contact:

Re: Weather Forecast

Post by Scott P »

Wunderground was not correct today for sure.

I am working in a construction project and informed the contractor that the weather would likely be very poor this evening (based on NOAA and Chris Tomer's forecast). He showed me wunderground's forecast that said only 0.04" of rain around Fairplay and that it wouldn't hit until late evening. They ordered a bunch of expensive grinding and striping equipment to come up from Denver for the evening, but it started pouring shortly after arriving and they had to cancel after arriving on site.
Last edited by Scott P on Sat Jul 31, 2021 12:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.
I'm slow and fat. Unfortunately, those are my good qualities.
User avatar
daway8
Posts: 731
Joined: 8/25/2017
14ers: 58 18
13ers: 100 21
Trip Reports (55)

Re: Weather Forecast

Post by daway8 »

Well Boreas was beautiful this morning (between roughly 5-8am) which matched what OpenSummit predicted rather than the more pessimistic NOAA info linked from this site.

Standing at the trailhead for Guyot sorely tempted to give it a go (9:30am) but all the sites pretty much agree that weather is coming in soon and I do see some puffy clouds starting to roll over the ridge... If I had Andrew Hamilton's speed I would go for it since there's still a lot of blue sky showing at the moment but since I'm more likely to reach the summit about when the light show starts I think I'll call it at just one peak for today...

But I'm growing steadily more bold about pushing ahead with iffy NOAA forecasts when the other sites look good - glad I didn't cancel due to that forecast.
User avatar
Chicago Transplant
Posts: 3733
Joined: 9/7/2004
14ers: 57 12 24
13ers: 679 40 35
Trip Reports (64)

Re: Weather Forecast

Post by Chicago Transplant »

daway8 wrote: Sat Jul 31, 2021 9:45 am Well Boreas was beautiful this morning (between roughly 5-8am) which matched what OpenSummit predicted rather than the more pessimistic NOAA info linked from this site.

Standing at the trailhead for Guyot sorely tempted to give it a go (9:30am) but all the sites pretty much agree that weather is coming in soon and I do see some puffy clouds starting to roll over the ridge... If I had Andrew Hamilton's speed I would go for it since there's still a lot of blue sky showing at the moment but since I'm more likely to reach the summit about when the light show starts I think I'll call it at just one peak for today...

But I'm growing steadily more bold about pushing ahead with iffy NOAA forecasts when the other sites look good - glad I didn't cancel due to that forecast.
Glad you got a nice hike in! There are a few times, but very rare, where I have had to turn back before 9am. On high percentage days like this weekend I plan for short hikes with sunrise-ish starts, and either camp at the trailhead or very close to it. I was on Indy Pass and hiked about 6-10am with no issues. Slept at North Lake Creek TH.

That 5/6am to 9/10am window has been fairly reliable, and the few times I have had to turn back in that window I was still glad I gave it a try. If you keep your plans to things you feel can be done in 3 to 4 hours of hiking, you can sneak some morning hikes in during heavy monsoon forecasts. Honestly sometimes too early of a start can actually be more risky. While not last night, I have had 4am storms when sleeping and then had clearing skies by 6 a few times. I would be worried I wouldn't know a storm was coming if I was out in the dark predawn. I tend to just go for shorter outings at first light and plan on being back before 10 rather than a bigger hike with a dark start on these kind of days. I like to see what I am working with.
"We want the unpopular challenge. We want to test our intellect!" - Snapcase
"You are not what you own" - Fugazi
"Life's a mountain not a beach" - Fortune Cookie I got at lunch the other day
User avatar
Jorts
Posts: 554
Joined: 4/12/2013
14ers: 51 3 1
13ers: 63 12 5
Trip Reports (7)

Re: Weather Forecast

Post by Jorts »

Monsoon season afternoon summit bids are underrated. Love the post-shower evening light 6pm walkabout.
Traveling light is the only way to fly.
IG: @summityinzer
Strava: Brent Herring
mountainlover153
Posts: 75
Joined: 3/18/2008
14ers: 29

Re: Weather Forecast

Post by mountainlover153 »

bdloftin77 wrote: Tue Jul 27, 2021 4:30 pm
mountainlover153 wrote: Tue Jul 27, 2021 3:57 pm 5) Weather models--what's the forecast MU Cape & Lifted Index?
Thanks! Where on NOAA (weather.gov) can I find the MU CAPE and Lifted Index? Are there other good sites that have those if not on NOAA?

Also, I saw your MU CAPE explanation (most unstable convective available potential energy), but didn't see a lot about the lifted index. What's the lifted index? I appreciate it.
So, in short, you can't find a public-disseminated forecast for CAPE. Few people would be able to understand what it meant in context. For example, Cape is important, but it isn't the only ingredient needed. You can have a layer of stability (like a lid) called Convective Inhibition (CIN). You also need to get the air to the base of the CAPE layer somehow. Basically I was saying in my post, I look at all 6 factors I listed (actually a lot more than I listed)--but, with those in context, I *then* focus on CAPE. Another reason you won't see a "forecast" for CAPE, is that it isn't a surface based value, it's measured in the vertical direction, and the values are not typically as accurate as temperature forecasts because CAPE depends on a lot of other things, including temperature.

The lifted index is a related measure. In my post I talked about how moist air cools more slowly than dry air. When you lift a blob of air, eventually it cools to a point where it becomes saturated (with water). If the atmosphere is *un*stable, if the blob goes up a short distance, the blob will be warmer (less dense) than surrounding air. The LI is the numerical difference between the temperature of the blob at a given height, and the background temperature of the surrounding air. If that number is negative, it means the blob is warmer than surrounding air--so it is less dense, and will rise. Zero would be neutral, and positive would be colder. A negative LI is another way of quantifying instability. The greater the difference, the more unstable the atmosphere. This ends up being important when trying to determine updraft strength (the speed and power at which air rises in the storm). I won't go into detail about why that matters and what you can glean from that, the short version is that negative LI equals unstable. LI is typically given as a value at 500mb of pressure-so, the temperature difference at 500mb. That's half of the atmosphere in terms of pressure, but not in terms of height (again, going to skip the explainer on that, but generally 14ers are around 600mb at the summit).

The primary utility of the post I wrote is in deciphering the NWS forecast discussion. Each forecast office, in addition to the graphical and text forecast you see, writes a technical discussion with every forecast update, that can be reached via the links on the lower right part of the forecast page (or from the wfo's main website. It's primarily written for other meteorologists, such as TV mets. Most meteorologists incorporate the NWS's forecast thinking in their own forecast (as a piece of guidance, they don't copy the NWS). In that discussion the NWS mets go into more detail about what's expected to happen and why, and how they arrived at their forecast (what models were favored, what past-experience knowledge told them, how confident they are in the forecast). It can be very helpful to read because it provides context to a point forecast and can lead to better understanding and decision making. But it isn't designed to be read by the public, most of whom want simple quick numbers that give them the info they need for their day. So, now if anyone who read my post reads that, they'd kinda-sorta understand the essence of CAPE, if it were mentioned. For most hikers, looking at the NWS forecast and any other favored outlets, and maybe trying to read the forecast discussion and pick up as much as one can, is going to be the best option. I just wanted to put up a reference of what I do in case any meteorologists, met students, or weather geeks, who like to hike, read the page. The general advice given by others here is good, which is to check multiple forecasts, remember that you can't see what's happening on the other side of the mountain, and be conservative in the sense of turning around if conditions are deteriorating.
---
Post Reply