27 November, 2002
Latitude: 80 21 92
Longitude: 118 14 92
Temperature: -10 C
Wind speed: 35 knots
Wind Chill: -23 C / -9 F
Wind direction: Northeasterly
Meters of ice collected: 0
Whiteout conditions visibility less than 1 mile.
Notes on daily life: Today was mismatch of raw, primitive Antarctic weather and gentler, modern conveniences. The two highlights were the wonderful steak dinner that Andrea made for everyone, which was followed by a DVD showing of <underline>Lord of the Rings</underline>.
comfort with friends belied the fury of the Antarctic storm that was howling outside. We've been in the same weather pattern for the past three days now, and it is still an amazing experience every time a person heads outside.
The area of Antarctica where we are is one of the flattest, most featureless terrain on the planet. In every direction one looks there is a limitless expanse of flat whiteness. However, since the storm has arrived, the blowing snow has reduced visibility to less than 5 feet! With sustained winds of 30 knots and gusts reaching into the 40s it seems like every snow crystal within a thousand kilometers has become mobilized in the air. The ensuing whiteout conditions have created a truly ethereal experience where all sense of depth and distance are gone. There is no horizon: only white. It is a blankness that seems to defy logic; does it go on forever or nowhere?
Even a simple, stumbling trip from the Blue Room to the kitchen forces one to realize the awesome and alien character of this land. Despite the steaks and DVDs this is still a wild place. Luckily we have flag lines to follow and warm shelters to keep us safe, so overall the storm is more an impressive experience than a truly worrisome threat.
However, every venture outside makes you wonder if the ice is choosing to remind us that it might be tolerating our diesel engines, wind generators, and computers but it is still a powerful continent demanding respect.
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