Friday, October 21, 2005
posted 10/21/2005 06:46:00 PM UTC+12, McMurdo Local Time

It's Friday!

Got a lot of stuff done at work today - some meeting type stuff, some paperwork type stuff, some fuelie stuff, and a little blogging stuff. We had a nifty little storm here today, nothing major but with enough wind to whip up snow and cut visibility way down. Unfortunately, I left my camera in my room and didn't get any pictures of that :(. Town never got worse than Condition 2, but some places like the ice runway were at Condition one!

Basically, we have three 'ratings' for how bad the weather is down here:

  • Condition 3: Ideal to slightly funky. Wind speed is less than or equal to 48 knots (roughly 55mph,) visibility is greater than 1/4 mile, and windchill temperature is greater than -75°F.

  • Condition 2: Funky. Wind speed is greater than 48 knots (~55mph) but less than or equal to 55 knots (~63mph,) or visibility is greater than 100 feet but less than or equal to 1/4 mile, or windchill temperature is greater than -100°F but less than or equal to -75°F. You don't want to be outside in condition 2

  • Condition 1: Really Funky. Wind speed is greater than 55 knots (63mph,) or visibility is less than or equal to 100 feet, or windchill temperature is less than or equal to -100°F. At condition 1, everyone except the S&R (Search and Rescue) people are required to stay put and not go outside at all.

So, before lunchtime, the storm had passed, the air was crystal clear and pretty warm (upper single digits/low teens!) Worked on some stuff around the fuels barn including learning how to work with fittings that go with our 6" diameter flexible "lay flat" hose. We'll be laying several miles of this stuff in a couple weeks, so we all had to get well acquainted with it to be able to help. Had lunch as usual, then back to work! I spent some time filling drums down at the heloport, took a look at a weird little filter sump (an external drain that lets you remove some of the junk that a filter catches) that I'm going to modify sometime soonish, then went back up to the shop. We had acquired a couple really big (12"X 20') sections of steel pipe with flanges on the end for making basically a culvert for fuel lines with. Unfortunately, in their last use these pipes had been covered with some weird insulation stuff that we had to remove in order to use them, so I helped out with that effort for a while. They were also packed up with snow, so David (one of the other fuelies) and I scrounged up a bumper jack, some big metal pans, and some big chunks of wood to prop the pipes up at an angle such that when the snow melts, it'll drain into the pans instead of our shop's floor. Fun work, might post a pic later if I remember to take the camera to work tomorrow.

So, here are some pictures of the last several days:
Ian standing beside one of Scharen's wheelsC-17 Sitting on the ice runway
C-17 being unloaded on the ice runway

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