Friday, February 11, 2011

Extreme weather, sponsored by mountain dew

The past two morning, the weather has been pretty extreme. It's been -25 F and the wind has been howling, kicking the temperatures down to -60 F. I'm still not wearing "Big Red" yet, "little red" combined with a fleece, windpants and a facemask have done the trick but I'm starting to feel the cold. The visibility was really bad this morning. I could only see about 2 flags ahead of me (each flag is probably 100 feet or so). It's a good thing there was somebody about 250 feet ahead of me wearing a big red parka so I could follow him. On the way back to the station (which was not visible from the 1km away lab) I started to veer off course because I couldn't see the flags. I only went a little bit out of the way before realizing. The lab was white, covered with the blowing snow instead of its usual blue. At about noon, though, the weather has been clearing up.

The station is winding down. Only about 100 people here, down from the 250 person capacity. It's like a ghost town. It feels pretty cool. With the extreme weather, small population, 24 hour sun, and strange landscape, it sometimes really feels like I'm on a distant planet. This, of course, makes the nerdy sci-fi part of me extremely happy. This is especially true when I'm riding on the back of a snowmobile to or from the lab and can really look at all the nothingness whizzing by. I've posted some pics below taken about 3 days ago (or 2... the days really run together here) of the view from the galley. When the wind blows like this, it carries small currents of snow that make the ice look like it's dancing. It's really breathtaking. I love staring out of the galley windows whenever I get the chance.

A picture of the ceremonial pole.

You can see the wind if you look carefully. It looks like it's coming straight from the sun. This was about 9 at night. Maybe even 10.

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