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  1. #1
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    Dolly Sods Wilderness

    What is the most reliable weather forecast source for Dolly Sods?

    Thanks All!

  2. #2
    PopcornFool's Avatar
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    This site: https://www.timeanddate.com/weather/@4804217/ext is usually fairly good. But there's something you need to understand about the weather in this area.

    Dolly Sods is about 150 miles due west of Washington DC. So why does that matter?

    Well the weather around DC is notoriously fickle. It has something to do with the terrain and jet stream and a bunch of other factors I don't understand. But if you draw an imaginary horizontal line through Washington DC the weather can be vastly different to the north of the line than south of the line. For example, there may be snow north of the line and freezing rain south of the line. Or folks to the south could be getting soaked by thunderstorms while folks to the north are enjoying pretty blue skies. The problem is that the line doesn't stay centered on DC. Sometimes it migrates north and DC is spared the worst weather and sometimes it migrates south and the region gets dumped on. (Or vice versa.) And the line might even move during the weather event. It's maddening when you are trying to plan outdoor activities. The meteorologists on the local news are always hedging their bets because even they aren't confident about what they're gonna get.

    So what does that have to do with Dolly Sods? Well because Dolly Sods is due west of DC, the weather there is very similar, only they get it a little sooner. And it's just as fickle with no way to anticipate where that imaginary horizontal weather line is going to migrate.

    You can rely on the Dolly Sods weather at the link I provided, but I recommend that you also check the forecasts for weather to the north (like Cumberland, MD) and to the south (like Staunton, VA) then prepare for the worst of the three.

    Oh ... and one more thing ... no matter what the weather forecast says, prepare for mud. There are parts of the wilderness that stay soggy pretty much year 'round. Every time I've gone I've always come home with mud-caked boots, mud-caked pants, and mud-caked trekking poles even when there hasn't been any recent rain. I don't usually take a pack cover, but I always take one when I go to Dolly Sods just to protect my pack when I set it down. I don't always need it, but when I do, I'm darn glad I've brought it. On other trips, I usually just take a piece of Tyvek, but there have been a couple of trips to Dolly Sods that even the Tyvek got nasty muddy and the few extra ounces for the pack cover was well worth it.

    All that said ... Dolly Sods is a pretty incredible area for hiking/backpacking. There's a lot of varying terrain and I always enjoy going there. If you haven't been before, I think you'll really like it.
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    Wow! I greatly appreciate your advice time and effort on this Popcornfool! Thank you!

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    cmoulder's Avatar
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    Typical trail in Dolly... Some places are absolute mud pits.

    But maybe with the dry year so far, not so much?

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    Senior Member OneClick's Avatar
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    NWS is always going to be your best bet. forecast.weather.gov.

    Scroll down to the map and click on the actual location for a pinpoint forecast. Instead of feeding a bunch of computer models in the forecast with likely zero human intervention (weather channel, accuweather, etc), they actually account for all kinds of variables plus input from real meteorologists working in that area. The only downside is the range of a week...well...actually that's a good thing.

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