Thursday, July 15, 2010

Worst weather yet...

Two posts in as many days, a new record.  But I have to post about the current weather - it just keeps getting worse and worse.  We now officially have one of the top five days ever recorded in terms of altitude at 11,860 feet, and it keeps going up.  The weather prediction computers in Florida (yes, that's where our weather computers are) shut themselves off when they decided that the wind speed predictions they were projecting weren't reasonable.  But here we are with 40 mph winds and at nearly 12,000 feet.  I'm sitting here at my desk and I can feel the station rocking in the wind - that's the first time that has happened all winter.  We can hear the wind howling outside even through the foot-thick walls.  Luckily it is pretty warm today at -56F.  You may think that's a joke, but really it isn't.  There is a huge difference between -56 and -80.

I was outside this morning for about 45 minutes and it is very different from the lower winds and clear skies we usually have.  Normally the wind blows from one direction constantly, but today the wind was from another direction - it was very confusing.  We navigate using some red lights placed around the station and at one point I couldn't see them anymore.  I was getting nervous because I didn't know how I was going to get back to the station if someone had turned the station's red lights off.  Then I realized I was facing in the wrong direction and the lights were behind me.  I bet you think I was miles away, but I was only about fifty yards from the station.  It is really pitch dark and when the wind blows there is blowing snow up to about ten feet off the ice.  If you look straight up you might see stars, but looking horizontally you can't see much at all.  When I got back inside the station the upwind side of my parka was coated in snow.

Current prediction: increasing winds for the next four days.


Rob Stowell said...

Expected high temp here in Bethel (elevation approx. 300 ft.) 91 deg. with 87% humidity. We're boxing some up and FedEx'ing it your way. Haven't seen any stars in days.

Speaking of stars... is there an equivalent star to Polaris at the south pole?

J. Reaves said...

No, there is an empty space where a pole star would be. But the Southern Cross is very easily found.

Anonymous said...

Would be happy for some cooler weather here in N.C. but I think I will pass on your type of cool..Today 7/22 is supposed to be a high of 98* with heat index at 108* with, right now at 1 p.m., 49% humidity...You sure you want to come back? Maybe not so bad in November. Waiting for your return.../Linda/llb

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