Service to predict mountain weather.

Wednesday, 6 December 2017

WALKING group Kilbroney Ramblers has welcomed news that the Mourne Mountains now has its own dedicated five-day weather forecast.

The service, a first for Northern Ireland, has added to the nine existing areas that the Met Office already forecast for across Scotland, England and Wales.

Mourne Mountain expeditions can now be better planned, weather permitting of course, and no more pondering about whether you can get a view from the top as this is one of the questions the forecast can answer.

"All weather forecasts are very helpful when planning a walk," said chairman of Kilbroney Ramblers, Finnard man William Mitchell.

"It is vital to know the local weather before embarking on a route. You need to know things such as is heavy rain due and is it likely there will be ice or snow?"

Our group hikes in the Mournes every Friday, come rain, hail or shine and we have routes planned for three grades of walking on this day, one which takes walkers right up into the highest peaks.

"We will definitely be using this service and are very pleased that it has now been introduced to the area.

"Before the service we would have checked BBC weather for updates which was always fairly accurate.

"Some of our group walked in the Lake District before and we were able to use their dedicated weather service so we already know the benefits it can bring when planning a route.

"Currently we have a total of 136 members and they come from all over the north and south of Ireland, we have people from Co Down, Co Armagh, Co Louth and Co Antrim.

"People just love the Mourne area and there are so many different routes suitable for walkers of all abilities. It really is a perfect setting." Key features of the forecast service include; Weather conditions from valley to peak which should help people make better weather decisions about their trip, information on what impact the forecast weather is likely to have on people, A Meteorologist's View to help complete the weather picture for users.

A spokesperson from the Met Office said: "These forecasts provide valuable, sometimes life-saving information to people who spend time in the mountains.

"The service has been shaped closely by us working with people who visit and work in mountainous areas. These forecasts should help people who visit this area to make decisions that may affect their safety and well-being." Meanwhile, Richard Orrell, manager of Public Weather Services, explained that these forecasts are compiled by specially trained meteorologists who often spend time in the hills and mountains and know the ins and outs of mountain weather.

"Our forecasts are the ones to trust when it really matters and we're pleased to be able to offer our Mountain Forecast to people visiting the Mourne Mountains."


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