Mountain Weather Forecasts: slight change of thunderstorms before noon

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mgl45
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Joined: 6/27/2021
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Mountain Weather Forecasts: slight change of thunderstorms before noon

Post by mgl45 »

Hi folks, I'm starting to get some foundational experience with this with a few above-tree-line hikes, lots of reading and past discussions on this site, etc. But, I still have a lot to learn.

Once particular type of forecast that has come up the last few days is "slight chance of thunderstorms before noon".
My questions are all in the spirit of balancing the tension between the "mountain will be there another day" principle and the "if you wait for prefect conditions you won't get many chances" reality.


QUESTION #1

Based on everything learned so far, my instinct is that this kind of day warrants caution but not an absolute no-go. On a day like this would it be reasonable to aim to be off the summit by 10am, below treelike by noon, and assess the cloud development along the way, turning around if things are looking sketchy once I reach the treeline? What would you do?

I'm asking the context of an hike with moderate above tree line exposure, not something heavily exposed like Capitol, or big traverses, for example.


QUESTION #2

For "slight chance of thunderstorms before noon" forecast, I am also wondering about hikes that start above the treeline like Mount Sniktau or Mount Sherman, where there isn't really a "reassess at treeline opportunity".

Even though these hikes start above the treeline, would is still be reasonable to aim to be off the summit by 10am, back at the trailhead by noon, and assess the cloud development along the way, turning around if things are looking sketchy as the day progresses? What would you do?


Thanks much for any advice anyone may have!



For anyone who may come across this thread in the future, here are other weather related posts on the site I've found very helpful:


viewtopic.php?t=60231&view=unread#unread
viewtopic.php?f=16&t=60461&p=749367&hil ... nd#p749367
https://14ers.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=52399
https://14ers.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=44917
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yaktoleft13
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Re: Mountain Weather Forecasts: slight change of thunderstorms before noon

Post by yaktoleft13 »

I'm full sending any day there's only a "slight chance" of anything. NOAA rarely doesn't have a day without a slight chance of something. A couple of the best weather days that stand out in my mind have been 40% in the morning and 60+% in the afternoon chances of rain. The reality is that you typically just don't know unless you go, with the exception of certain days with horrible forecasts agreed upon by multiple sources.

You can always mitigate risk by starting earlier.for your hypothetical, it depends the peak, the distance, and the terrain left.i generally would push on unless it's looking imminent.

My general philosophy is I look at 2 or 3 different forecasts, then pick the one that suits my interests the best as gospel
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