Some serious blizzards

For the past week, the weather has been fairly unfortunate here in Barrow.  We had a snow day on Wednesday.  It was a total whiteout,with so much snow blowing around that I could barely see my car out the front door, let alone the
house next door.  The UICS staff discussed it and decided to hold off until after daylight to go to work (so we could at least have a chance to see drifts).  By that time, UIC and everybody else had closed for the day.

View out the front window during Wednesday's blizzard. Notice the snow streaks and the frost flowers.

The weather improved Wednesday night, but no loaders had been heard at NARL by the next morning.  I called into the regular teleconference with one of our clients, and then headed for the BARC.  Good choice.  The drift across the drive was huge.  I headed back to my house for snowshoes.

Fortunately, the ARM project has a telehandler with a bucket.  They also have a contractor who is trying to finish an upgrade to the BARC instrument platform and is a bit behind schedule.  Once the telehandler was dug out and the area around the ARM duplex was clear, Walter brought the telehandler over to the BARC drive.  One and a half hours later, he had a single lane through the drift and place for me to park, so I went in.  Susie, who’s filling in as the UICS temporary admin assistant, came out in a cab.

The wind was already rising and the barometer dropping again.  I went home at for a quick lunch, and there was already a drift at my door.

Drift at the door at lunchtime on Thursday.

The snow was sculpted in very interesting ways, which had gotten more elaborate while the car was out of the way.

Drift at the front of my house, lunchtime on Thursday. The grill is almost completely exposed.

I went back to work, but by 3 PM it was getting really nasty with low visibility.  I told everyone it was time to head home, since the road from NARL was going to get bad (and Susie and I would be spending some time at the BARC with the contractor if we didn’t get out ASAP).  Shortly after that, they closed pretty much everything in town for the day.

We were closed for everything all day today (Friday), too.  I managed to get a few things done and written from home.  We’ve canceled lab for tomorrow, since the loader has only been working enough to get a path for the water and sewer trucks to get the residential huts, and the BARC is undoubtedly behind a huge drift again.  We haven’t actually gotten water or sewer trucks, mind you, but they can at least come tomorrow.

My husband’s weather day was interrupted by the news that something had blown in in the BASC Bldg. 360 server room.  He went over on foot (falling into snowdrifts that he couldn’t see without glasses) and eventually got a repair crew organized to come secure the room so snow didn’t keep blowing in and wreck the servers.  They had to turn off an air conditioner, but that didn’t seem to be a real problem, given all the cold air that was coming in everywhere.

The wind is finally going around to the north, with temperatures dropping, and even a little bit of sunset sky showing!  It’ll be a chore to get to work on Monday, no doubt, but that is the Arctic.  The entire North Slope was under blizzard warning for a couple days.  That was a huge storm, apparently bigger than any they’re recorded for a decade or more.

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