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Weather Basics for Backpackers Here's one weather prediction you can count on: Some day when you're deep in the backcountry, the weather will change unexpectedly.
Unpredictable weather is an inherent risk in wilderness travel. Always come prepared.
It's impossible to know for certain what the weather will do, even on day hikes. Accordingly, a little common sense and a cautious attitude are two of the most important items you can bring with you into the backcountry.
Pay attention to developments in the sky. The shapes and movements of clouds typically foreshadow changes in the weather such as the arrival of warm fronts and cold fronts.
Warm fronts are defined as warm air masses that gradually push out and replace cooler bodies of air. Warm fronts, which move at roughly half the speed of cold fronts, rarely produce violent weather, but the precipitation they generate may linger for long periods. Warm fronts progress from thin, high-level cirrus clouds to low, dense stratus clouds:
Tip: If late-day storms become a pattern during your trip, rise early each day and cover as much ground as you can during the day's more stable hours.
Never take an electrical storm casually. If lightning threatens while you are in the backcountry, take immediate action: