Ah, Antarctic winter! Our excitement about sunshine didn’t get to last too long and Nate could have saved his energy and not bothered digging out the road last week, as it was all of about 24 hours before the joys of winter weather hit us again.
We had a long weekend here last weekend having delayed taking our Easter Monday public holiday until now in the hope that we would get lovely penguin visiting weather. Sadly, not to be, and we were Red Shed bound all weekend with high winds for 4 days.
Over a 96 hour period we had a wind run of 10,736km, which means we averaged winds of 112km/hr. Wind run is defined as ‘how much wind runs past the anemometer in a 24 hour period', so to put that in perspective: imagine the wind ‘ran’ from Perth to Auckland and back again in 96 hours. Our peak gust was 102 knots on Saturday, which is equivalent to 188.7km/hr.
In fact, our holiday Monday was 24 hours of full blizzard conditions, which is quite a long time for us to have such consistent weather and snow blow. To be ‘blizzard’ it must be winds greater than 34 knots average for an hour, temperature less than zero and visibility of 100m or less due to blowing snow.
Obviously this all means it’s pretty horrid outside and you really don’t want to go there, however certain work around station must continue 24/7 so Powerhouse, Bureau of Meteorology and ARPANSA observations all still have to be undertaken, meaning trekking out into that weather to get to the relevant buildings and conduct the obs. And if you're BoM, it even means attempting to launch a balloon into the wind: which Linc managed to do successfully in 65 knot (120km/h) winds on Sunday.
Weather aside, it was the Antarctic 48 Hour Film Festival weekend. As I’m sure will be mentioned in station news elsewhere, this is an annual event here in the south with most stations on the continent and the sub-Antarctic islands contributing entries, all of which need to be conceived, filmed and edited over this 48 hour period. So creative energy was buzzing around the Red Shed and Linc hustled everyone to contribute something to our effort we titled ‘Maverick’s How To…'.