APRIL SHOWERS29 March 2017
“March winds and April showers bring forth May flowers.” More than just a poetic proverb, after a fairly breezy March can we expect to see wetter weather this month, and will that bring a bright and colourful May?
The short answer is yes.
At length, yes, we can expect to see wetter weather this month, and it is all to do with our recent transition into spring and the positions of the jet stream.
The jet stream are bands of strong winds (up to 200mph) in the atmosphere, around 9-16km above the surface of the earth. The atmosphere is comprehensively connected, with changes in one place often affecting the weather on the other side of the planet, and it is these winds that are responsible for moving weather systems around the earth.
For the UK the Polar jet stream sits between the cold arctic air and the warmer air in the tropics. The further north it pushes, the more warm air it drags in from the south, and conversely, when it pushes south it pulls the arctic cold with it.
In April, the Northern hemisphere has started turning towards the sun – last week we officially passed the Vernal Equinox – meaning it is beginning to get more sunlight than during the winter months. As a result the North pole is beginning to warm, reducing the contrast between the arctic and tropical jets, shifting the jet stream North.
As it moves close to, and over the UK, the stream creates significant depressions and areas of low pressure that bring wet weather and rains in from over the Atlantic.
More importantly, as the surface air is warmer – thanks to the hemispheres position – while the jet stream creates colder air higher in the atmosphere, the air becomes unstable, creating clouds that develop quickly in the middle of the day, and disappear as the ground cools off.
That’s why we can often have a fine, sunny start to the day but intense rain showers in the early afternoon, before it breaks out fine again.
The temperature can also change rapidly, sometimes reaching 20 degrees in the shade while dropping to less than 10 degrees after a storm.
This variable spring weather can pose some difficulties for walkers. How do you effectively dress for the day’s trek, without getting caught out in a sudden storm?
The answer lies in ensuring you’ve got all the essentials stowed away in your pack.
A good waterproof shell jacket, or 3 in 1, is always a good investment. Even if you’re not wearing it all the time, it is important to have one for when the weather turns. Likewise, our range of waterproof ponchos will give you the added protection you need when the rain rolls in.
It can still be quite chilly at this time of year, particularly a little higher up, so you should be taking a pair of thinner gloves with you anyway – but a lightweight waterproof shell glove like our Classic Lite, will make sure you stay warm and dry if the weather turns wet.
A decent pair of gaiters will help keep the wet out of your boots, which is an absolute necessity, while a waterproof day pack will make sure the rest of your gear stays dry no matter how hard or long the rain lasts. We recommend our Cairngorm GORE-TEX gaiters, and Drypacks.
Finally, whether it’s an emergency, or you’re just stopping for lunch, our award winning Mountain Pod group shelters were designed to be kept with you in case of bad weather.
You can check out the spring waterproofing range, online and in stores now.