McMurdo Station uses three weather “conditions” to define weather-related travel restrictions. They are:
Weather Condition 3:
Unrestricted travel and activity are allowed.
- Winds less than 48 knots, and
- Visibility greater than or equal to ¼ mile, and
- Wind chill temperature warmer than -75°F.
Severe Weather Condition 2:
Restricted pedestrian traffic only between buildings is allowed. Vehicular travel is only allowed in radio equipped, enclosed vehicles, and check out with the Firehouse is required.
- Winds 48 to 55 knots sustained for one minute, or
- Visibility less than ¼ mile, but greater than or equal to 100 feet sustained for one minute, or
- Wind chill -75°F to -100°F sustained for one minute.
Severe Weather Condition 1:
Severe weather is in progress. All personnel must remain in buildings or the nearest shelter.
- Winds greater than 55 knots sustained for one minute, or
- Visibility less than 100 feet sustained for one minute, or
- Wind chill greater than -100°F sustained for one minute.
We’ve had Condition 1 a few times here so far. When Condition 1 struck McMurdo tonight, we were stranded in the galley for 45 minutes (not too bad). But, because people can end up stranded in all kinds of strange places when Condition 1 hits, there is a famous McMurdo band called “Condition Fun”. I think that’s an amazing name, and I’ve borrowed it for the title of this post. Check out their original song, C-17.
Here’s a photo I took of the steps into the galley after a Condition 1 storm.
The steps into building 155 are covered in ice and snow following a Condition 1 weather event. (photo: Peter Kimball)
Reporting by Peter Kimball