Weather forecast in the Pyrenees
An accurate weather forecast is essential for planning a walking holiday and your routes for each day. Although in general the Pyrenees gets lovely stable summer weather, there are numerous microclimates and where to find the best weather can be difficult to predict. We find the weather can be very different between valleys as close together as the Valle de Tena and Ordesa and even in opposite sides of the same valley.
Generally, we get northern winds in the Pyrenees, with most of the rain falling on the French side while the Spanish side sits in the rain shadow staying dry and sunny! A settled week with gentle northerly winds is the perfect (and most common!) forecast. Nevertheless during July and August thunderstorms can develop late in the afternoon or in the evening mainly when the wind blows from the south during the hot days.
Nowadays there are plenty of weather forecasts in the internet, and is normal in the Pyrenees that they give slightly different predictions. This is why we recommend checking different websites in order to get a better idea of the possible weather you are going to find. Moreover, the forecasts can change a lot from day to day so remember to check the weather every evening for the following day! Below, we give you some of our favourite weather sites, that from our experience give you an accurate impression of the coming days weather. For a more general outlook of the weather during the season, read our article about when to visit the Pyrenees.
It’s an excellent weather site and one of our ‘go-to’ forecasts throughout the summer when planning routes. It has varying layers of details depending on how much information you need.
The site gives 7 and 14 day forecasts and on the 7 day forecast you can get a more detailed 3 hourly block breakdown for each day which is very useful. Temperatures, windspeed and direction, rainfall probability and quantity are all shown. One feature we really like is that it also gives a an estimate for the predictability of the forecast, allowing you to decide whether to believe it or not!
As with AEMET forecasts are generally given for villages rather than mountains however there is a forecast “Parque Nacional de Ordesa y Monte Perdido” Bear in mind that the temperatures given by the forecast in this case are at 2600m of altitude (much higher than you are going to be hiking, unless you are climbing a peak on the area)
If you would like more detail or are a weather geek check out the multimode forecast where you have several models of prediction that you can compare. The first, AROME2 is a very short range prediction model, giving you only the following days forecast. As it is a short term model it tends to be really accurate and a good option to check from day to day.
This site provides forecasts for ski resorts, but it operates throughout the year and not just during the ski season. It´s very useful if you are coming to Tena Valley, where there are two different resorts; Panticosa in the lower part of the valley and Formigal, higher and closer to the border with France.
The best thing about this website is that it provides a forecast for three different altitudes giving you accurate information about the temperatures up in the mountains (always colder than the temperatures on the villages of the valley floor).
However, in general this site is very pessimistic about the weather (or optimistic if you are looking for fresh snow in winter!). In particular it predicts thunderstorms (or more accurately a risk of thunderstorms) virtually every day in summer – very often these don’t come to pass!
In this website you will be able to check the weather forecast for the main peaks of the area where you are. It will provide a forecast for different altitudes.
We recommend you to check the forecast for the following peaks:
- Peña Telera or Balaitous in Tena Valley
- Pic du Midi d’Ossau crossing to France from Tena Valley
- Monte Perdido, Taillon and Vignemale in the Ordesa National Park
Please, bear in mind that these last three peaks in Ordesa are all big three thousand metre peaks that tend to attract bad weather – the weather in the Ordesa Valley itself will usually be much better (and warmer!)
This is the official government weather agency. You can check the weather of the main villages of the areas you are going to stay during your holidays. You can see a 7 day daily forecast as well as a more detailed hourly forecast for the next 24 hours. You can see temperatures, wind speed and direction plus the probability of rainfall (although only the actual quantity of the rainfall on the hourly forecast).
Although the information is not bad and generally reasonably accurate, it is a bit general and not mountain specific. In addition, you can only get forecasts at the village level – the weather in the mountains above is often very different!
Villages that it is useful to check the forecast for are:
- Biescas, Panticosa or Sallent de Gállego in Tena Valley
- Torla for the Ordesa (western) part, and Bielsa for the Pineta or eastern area of the Ordesa National Park
- Alquezar or Rodellar in Sierra de Guara
Snow and avalanches forecast
If you’re venturing off-piste or snow shoeing it’s vital to have an accurate avalanche forecast. For the Pyrenees there is an Aragon avalanche forecast and a Catalonian avalanche forecast in AEMET.
However, these forecasts are very old fashioned and text heavy – if you don’t speak good Spanish you’ll find these tough to understand. There are more modern, graphically based forecasts (similar to the Scottish Avalanche Information Service) but only for Cataluña and for the Valle de Aragon (north of Jaca for the Astun and Candanchu ski resorts).
Refugio Goriz in the Ordesa National Park also has an excellent Facebook group and regularly posts updates on snow an weather conditions.