Tuesday, October 16, 2007

The Weather.

Today's post is dedicated to Sheetal Jhaveri to whom this topic is very near and dear. As most of you know, I’ve never been concerned with the weather forecast. The most attuned I have ever been with the weather is when Sheetal would have me check the nightly weather for her so she knew what to wear in the morning. I was going to wear the same thing no matter what. Oh, to be a simpleton.

Today's weather

In the United States Antarctic Program (USAP), we have three weather conditions:
Condition 3 is defined as having winds less that 48 knots/hour (that is greater that mph), wind chills warmer than -75 F, and visibility greater than a quarter mile. This is a typical day in the summer. Wind chills that could probably give you frost nip, the first stage of frost bite, in under a minute are part of a standard day where we are expected to report to work.

Condition 2 is defined by one or more of the following conditions: wind speeds between 48-55 knots, wind chills of -75 F to -100 F, and visibility less that one mile. We still work on these days, but are required to take a radio, check in, and check out when leaving town.

Condition 1 is defined by one or more of the following conditions: wind speeds greater than 55 knots, wind chills cooler than -100 F, or visibility of less than 100 ft. If this condition ever occurs, then we are restricted to whatever building we are in. If you are at work, stay put. If you are at home, stay put. If you are running an errand in the worst building in town, stay put. I believe you even have to stay put if you are in a vehicle that is parked next to your favorite building in town.

Some more experienced folks have pointed out that I should pay attention to the weather board on bad days. They have noticed that the entire area around us will be Condition 3. However, town (McMurdo) will remain Condition 2 until 8am when most everyone is at work since we start work at 7:30am. I don’t know if there is any truth to it, but it would be convenient for those at the top who want to get their money’s worth from us.

Today's area conditions

For those of you who don’t know, we are down here to work and to support the scientists, not to play. That means working nine hours a day, six days a week so an extra day off due to weather would be huge. Who isn’t excited by snow days? We are getting lucky this summer season and getting three two-day weekends this year: Thanksgiving (which leads into my birthday), Christmas, and New Years. Though, we don't get two days off for Halloween, it is rumored to be an epic celebration down here. I'm looking forward to all of them.

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