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What's the environment doing...

Gavin Howat 3 years ago   Reply

Everyone has a fixation with the weather forecast wondering quite how wet (or more rarely, dry) it's going to be today or tomorrow!  But do we consider what the weather has thrown at us previously when planning what we are going to do, and where?

Over the years, a number of incidents (some sadly fatal) and near misses have been due, at least in part, to the weather, not so much on the day but due to the weather in the days or weeks before.  It is an important part of planning activities to think about what's gone before.  This may mean that some activities may need to be modified or rearranged.

Examples:

  • A big weather system that has passed across the Atlantic can leave a big swell for days afterwards. 
  • A depression in the North Sea can lead to higher tides than expected.
  • A long dry spell can leave the ground parched and then a downpour can result in streams in rivers rising very fast due to water running off the ground and not soaking in.  This has led to cave systems flooding and gorges rivers extremely fast.
  • The wind and snow fall patterns for weeks (even months) past can lead to an unstable snow pack and high avalanche risk.
  • A prolonged spell of hot weather can raise pollen counts.

 

So the message is, don't just think about what the weather is going to do but what it has already done and know how this could affect where you plan to go and what you plan to do.  It's also worth checking more than one source of weather information - there are lots out there, some big picture and some very local or specialised.  Make use of them!