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TIGER in Antarctica, December 2, 2003

Willy Field Day 2

Condition 1 Everywhere I decided to spend last night in the Weatherport, which was probably a mistake. As a temporary building, it is very bright (remember the Sun doesn't set) and extremely noisy. The wind is rattling the entire building, the buckles of the building support straps are vibrating quickly and loudly, and the support straps themselves occasionally make alarming snapping noises. I'm the last one to fall asleep (which is good because Lauren is going around taking pictures of everyone sleeping and snoring). It is not a comfortable night.

In the morning, things are even worse. The wind appears to be stronger and drifts have built up overnight that make some routes to the galley and outhouse impassable. Looking at the McMurdo website (shown at right), it is now Condition 1 even in town. This restricts movement between buildings in town to emergencies. Two years ago, the 4-day long storm we had in December never got to Condition 1 in town.

Condition 1 Everywhere

Snowdrift By lunch time, things are marginally better and the weatherman stands up and tells us that it looks like we're going to spend another night here at Willy Field. Within an hour, the wind has died down, visibility has gone way up, and there are blue skies. Looks like we'll make it back to town this evening. The snowdrift behind the Pigbarn is comparable in height to the one built up over 4 days from the 2001 storm.

Climbing the snowdrift behind the Weatherport

Snow Surfing As the afternoon progresses, the snowdrift curls at the top edge, looking more and more like a wave. We take a bunch of "surfing" pictures, riding the snow wave. As you can see from the blue skies and what I'm wearing, the weather is much better.

Now it's just a matter of when they can get vehicles from town out to get us. A couple of Deltas show up a little after 3 and the 40 of us who were stuck out here make it back to town for long hot showers and dinner.
Doing a little snow surfing


Dr. Eric R. Christian
Washington, DC 20546 USA
This page was last modified on December 12, 2003