Top 5 Mountain Weather Forecast Apps/Sites
Weather to Ride
Top 5 best weather apps and sites for backcountry recreation
Whether you are heading into the backcountry for a mellow day trip or an all-out, epic adventure weekend, the mountain traveler must know what mother nature has in store. It’s an amateur mistake to plan a trip based on vague information from the basic local weather channel/app. Obtaining an accurate and reliable weather forecast is a crucial aspect of mountain travel preparation. Here is a top 5 list of the best weather apps and sites that can help you get a better picture of the weather forecast, so you can have more fun playing in the sun.
Windy.com has finished on the top of the list due to its unprecedented accuracy and reliability. The public has never had this accurate of a weather tool at their finger tips before. Windy.com was created by Ivo Lukačovič, an extremely wealthy business man who became obsessed with action sports such a kite surfing, backcountry skiing and flying high speed jets. He concluded that most weather reports were inaccurate and unreliable so he took it upon himself to use his fortune to create the most accurate weather map available. The interface is bright and colorful and with lots of options but is still easy and fun to use. There are many great overlays such as ocean currents, snow depth and 10-day snow accumulation forecast just to name a few. This is a must have for any outdoor adventurer.
Most people who travel in the backcountry in any season are familiar with Mountain-Forecast.com. The greatest feature of this site is that you can get forecasts for nearly all named and mapped mountains in the world. This is the only site of its kind which makes it extremely valuable to mountain users. If you ride on a mountain, chances are this site will have forecast for you. The site offers a day-by-day forecast including temperature, coming snow and freezing elevation. The overall accuracy of this sites weather reports are only good, but the freezing level numbers are usually very accurate and come in very handy. This site paired together with WindyTY make the perfect combination for finding that bluebird day you are seeking.
Meteoblue is on the simpler side of this list but in this case that’s a good thing. This app is great for the person who doesn’t want all the fancy overlays and just wants to know the basics. Meteoblue will provide a very accurate forecast for nearly all named mountains across the globe. This app is very simple for all users but if you do want a little more of a detailed forecast you can still get that through the 5 and 15 day Meteograms. A Meteogram is an illustrated linear chart with drawings depicting items such as precipitation, wind gust and temperature. Meteoblue uses the same forecasting technology as Windy TY so you can trust the reports and feel comfortable knowing that this app is very accurate.
4. Avalanche Canada
The reason Avalanche Canada has finished in the top 5 is because it has become the best one-stop site for multiple resources. You can now get a great, detailed weather forecast at the same time as your avalanche forecast. The mountain forecast provides excellent radar and satellite imagery showing the entire province while providing a 4-day synopsis of what’s to come. If you are unfamiliar or new to reading radar images, they provide great tutorial videos to help you understand the animations. Not only that, but you can gather large amounts of information on mountain conditions in the Forecasters Blog section which provides a ton of insight into the weather and snow conditions.
5. The NOAA National Operational Hydrologic Remote Sensing Center
Out of all the weather resources on this list, the NOAA Hydrologic Sensing Center has the largest and most diverse amount of information of all. Unfortunately, this site focuses only on the continental USA, but does however provide a small sliver of forecast for southern British Columbian and Alberta, including the Northern Rockies. This site offers such a huge amount of data that it had to make the list. Not only can you get weather and snow forecasts but you can compare current snow accumulation to historical high and lows dating back decades. This is the go to for all American snow lovers that enjoy truly understanding the previous and current winter trends.
It should be noted that as weather forecasting models, none of these resources will ever be 100% accurate. But the use of a combination of these apps and sites should give you enough insight to make educated trip-planning decisions. Understanding these tools and using them regularly together will certainly help you make better plans and have more fun in the mountains with the sun on your face!