Technology Hiker

Best Weather Sites for Outdoor Adventures

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Yosemite Valley Snowstorm

While “you don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows,” an accurate forecast helps planning for outdoor adventures.  Everest & 8000m peak expeditions have documented how forecasts help improve summit attempts.  These forecasts help more modest trips find weather windows.  Here are some of the best US weather sites for outdoor adventures.

 

Open Snow

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Mt Hood Whiteout

Open Snow shares detailed 14 day snow forecasts for the US and Canada.  Areas covered include Tahoe, Colorado, Pacific Northwest, New Mexico, Utah, Alaska, New England, & Upper Midwest.  Open Snow is available via the internet and a well designed smart phone app.

If there is only place to winter or spring trips, this is the place.  Open Snow does not publish updates during the summer.

I read Bryan Allegretto’s Tahoe forecast several times a week on my iphone app.  He compares multiple forecasts and share probabilities of what should likely happen.  In my casual observation, he is mighty accurate as well.

NOAA

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Bluebird day – Freel in Tahoe

The NOAA (National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration) has the most accurate point forecasts.  I recommend three NOAA features: 1) 10 day forecast, 2) radar images to get an accurate point of time view, and 3) the ability to adjust a forecast for a specific spot like a summit on the “click map forecast.”

This is a site for all season and works well for spring, summer, fall, and winter trips.

Their mobile phone web interface is a little clunky, but the information is excellent.

US National Weather Service

The US National Weather service have local bureaus that post regularly on facebook.  They provide interesting commentary on storms and impacts.  I read the local San Francisco Bay Area/Monterrey and Reno/Tahoe sites regularly.  I use it for information on rain and storms in my local area.

Local Avalanche Center

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Bluebird day – Mt Lyell in Yosemite

Most US backcountry areas have an avalanche center with the latest snow stability forecasts.  January set a recent record with 20+ US avalanche deaths, so the risk is real.  The Sierra Avalanche Center is excellent for CA conditions.  Please check the local avalanche listings for exposure for backcountry skiing, snowshoeing, or winter mountaineering.


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