Friday, November 16, 2012

Condition 2: November 15, 2012

On Friday afternoon, we experienced our first weather that was bad enough to be classified as "Condition 2". In McMurdo parlance, "Condition 3" means pretty much normal weather, if not particularly nice. Officially, Condition 3 is defined as visibility greater than 1/4 of a mile, wind less than 48 knots (55 miles per hour) and a windchill of more than -75 F (-59 C). So, while we've had some less-than-great weather while we've been here, it hasn't been bad enough to be anything but Condition 3.

When we went outside at lunch time (beef tenderloin steaks. It's a harsh continent) Friday, though, the wind had really picked up. I don't think it was quite as high as 48 knots, but it was certainly something to deal with. In the afternoon, the LDB site and road leading to it were classified as being in Condition 2, along with the roads leading to the Sea Ice runway and Pegasus Field Airport. It actually didn't seem too bad on site, but the road didn't look good. We talked to Dan the lineman (who had come out to LDB a few other times) at dinner and he said that they had set out in our direction but had to turn back. By the time it was time to leave, though, things had calmed down considerably.

The big thing we were worried about when the Condition 2 was declared was the weather deteriorating into Condition 1. Condition 1 is bad. It means that we're getting sustained winds over 55 knots (63 mph), visibility of less than 100 feet (basically a whiteout) and/or a windchill of -100 F (-73 C). In a Condition 1, we're pretty much stuck where we are until things get better. Getting stranded out at LDB wouldn't be too bad--there are ropes to string between buildings and food in the galley--but nobody wanted to risk having to spend the night out here.

Other than the weather, Friday was pretty uneventful. I kept working on improving our quick-look software, Garry got to work on spare electronics, the insulation kept being installed on the bottom and we took more calibration data. There was movie trivia at Gallagher's that a few of us went to and did very poorly.  Things are going pretty well, so hopefully we'll keep being basically on schedule.

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