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Victoria University Antarctic Research Expedition Science and Logistics Reports 1992-93: VUWAE 37



The K-048 party was working out of Scott Base and was not issued with a standard "Met Book". In general the weather we experienced was similar to that at the Scott Base, however on the upper Koettlitz Glacier (Foster Crater) we encountered winds of quite extraordinary velocity over a 36 hour period.

The situation began to develop on the morning of 22nd November when wind speed picked up to permit snow to start blowing. This in itself was not a great problem although it was rather unpleasant to work in. By afternoon the wind had picked up to around 30 knots and snow was clearly visible cascading off the high peaks surrounding the Koettlitz Glacier. By late evening wind had increased to a steady 40+ knots and blowing snow was engulfing the tents. The velocity continued to increase through the early hours of 23rd November so that by the normal radio sked at 08.00, I could barely hear the radio operator at Scott Base and could not stand up outside the tent. I estimated the velocity at 70 - 80 knots, it was remarkably constant. Interestingly, it was not bitingly cold - or was that simply the adrenalin? Between 08.00 and 12.00 the wind showed no signs of abating, and if anything increased, such that we went on to 1 /2 hourly reports to Scott Base. One of the Polar Tents had suffered structural damage (bent poles) and I doubted the ability of the camp to withstand a further 24 - 48 hours of these conditions (forecast by Mac Weather to Ops Manager, Scott Base). As a result, a helicopter was dispatched to do a personnel only pick up and the party was returned to Scott Base. Needless to say, the extreme conditions did not persist and we were able to recover the camp the following day, with no difficulty.