Storm Caroline brings in the changes to Glen Feshie

Maximum wind speeds at the Wildland Mountain Observatory reached 70.5 mph this morning (31.49 m/s) as Storm Caroline brought high winds and property damage to many parts of northern Britain. Temperatures at 900 m OD fell from a balmy 7.0 C at 0130 GMT to -0.8 C three hours later, and down to -4.8 C at 2045 GMT.  This brought to an end 3+ days of continuous snowmelt from all elevations across the catchment: a 10 mm rainfall at high altitude caused a brief further rise in the river, followed by a fall to levels quickly below the snowmelt levels of the past few days.  Heavy snow is now forecast for all levels, so the river looks set to continue falling for some days.  Disdrometer data from Druim nam Bo show snowflake diameters in excess of 8 mm.

Feshie Bridge hydrograph 4-7 Dec 2017. Source: SEPA

Note for comparison: the Cairngorm AWS recorded a maximum gust speed in the order of 120 mph at an altitude of 1245 m OD.  The ridge location of the Druim nam Bo AWS may limit wind speeds there in comparison to the smoother, broader Cairngorm summit.

Big thaw at the weekend

After 10 days of continually freezing conditions at the Wildland mountain observatory on Druim nam Bo, warm air on Saturday brought a thaw to high altitudes – and significant melt.  Some 41.2 mm of snowmelt was recorded through the rain gauge.  The ground had been frozen and gradually climbed above zero – escaping from freezing some 16 hours after the air temperature.

Water level in the adjacent pond rose some 5 cm, soil moisture content rose from 2% to 18% – though the initially low value may be a reflection of freezing conditions.  The rise in pond level began 2 hours after thaw began to be recorded by the rain gauge.