Morning Jennifer, Antonietta and 5/6CS,
We reached 193km/h winds during that blizzard, previous blizzards this month we reached 210km/h.
You guys did have a cold snap last weekend. Not entirely sure if Antarctica was to blame but you guys did have a low pressure system that traveled from south of Tasmania that may have brought the cold winds from Antarctica. But not too sure.
Wow!! I wished we have tablets when I was at school. We still used over head projector when I was in high school.
We have iPads down here which is great! We get to download new books and news.
On to the questions:
Why are the balloons white? Well, our balloons are made of biodegradable latex (I believe), which is naturally white. We do have orange balloons that are used to track visually using a theodolites and an orange balloon is easier to see in a cloudy or in a clear blue sky. But because our balloons are now tracked by radars or GPS then having a coloured balloon is not necessary.
What do you do on your days off? Sometimes on my days off we have station duties to help keep the station clean and running. These duties for example include slushy (helping in the kitchen), bin runs, cleaning duties etc. Some of us have special duties like taking care of our hydroponics where we grow our fresh vegetables. If we don't have duties duties then we have lots of recreation activities. The most popular past time is to actually go off station to our field huts and explore the area. We have a library with a large collection of book and magazines. If we don't have it we can order it for next year or just use the library iPad to buy ebooks and magazine subscription. We just started a book club with our first book "All the pretty horses". We have a large collection of movies and tv shows we can watch in our cinema (Odeon cinema). We also have access to iTunes where we can watch tv shows and movies. One of the popular tv shows we watched was Game of Thrones. We had a marathon and watched season 1 and 2 before season 3 became available and watched an episode of season 3 every Tuesday (as it became available). One of other popular past time is actually working out in the gym.
Do you follow AFL? YES!!! I am a West Coast fan, coming from Western Australia. We stream the afl via digital radio or the game is recorded back in Kingston TAS. And is uploaded electronically to our severs down here for us to watch. Unfortunately we have to avoid social media and news because we only get to watch it 2hours after the game.
Does the temperature ever go above zero? Yes!! It occasionally goes above zero during summer. But we actually hit positive 4.2 degrees last month but for a very short period of time around 2am.
Do you ever have snowball fights? YES!! During summer we did. It was fun! I still haven't made a snowman yet because during winter the snow is like sand and doesn't stick together because its very dry. So the snow is more like ice.
How do you celebrate birthdays? With CAKE!! Our chef has a list of everyones birthday and he always makes cake with birthday candles and sparklers.
Have you seen any whales? No not down here, but other expeditioners have our in the field huts and expeditioners who came down on by ship.
How long do the blizzards last? It varies. Around 5 hours sometimes to even a week. If its not snowing during the blizzard, blowing snow can last around 5 hours. Winds can still be Gale force for another 3 more days but with no blowing snow.
Has anyone got lost in a blizzard? Yes!! One or two incidents. I can not tell you the details but it can happen and it has. Fortunately no incidence this year so far.
What sort of communication device does everyone have for emergencies? We have radios and satellite phones to communicate in the field. Each building have landline telephones and we also have an old paging system in place on station as well. In the field we also have GPS Emergency beacons which can be activated incase of an emergency for our Search and Rescue team can respond to.
Does it ever rain or only snow? I haven't experience rain here at Casey but it is possible for it to rain during the summer months. If it does rain it would be most likely happen in or near the Ocean.
Did you always want to be a meteorologist? Well I did a bachelor of science in Aviation as my undergrad and training as a pilot. Meteorology was a core and major subject. This grew my interest. Back in the mainland I actually don't forecast! I collect data for climatology and forecasting. I wanted to travel and see other parts of Australia, unfortunately forecasting won't bring me to some of the magnificent places doing field work. There are a few other places I still wanted to work in, Willis Island is one of them. I think in couple of years time I would want to settle and get a desk job as a forecaster. Until then, I am enjoying working in different Meteorological Office's around Australia.
Why are there so many seperate buildings at Casey rather than all in one?Because of fire. You wouldn't think fires wouldn't happen down here because its so cold. But all fire needs are fuel and air and buildings are full of things that can burn and we need air in them to breath. If one of our building catch fire and burns down its only that building.
Fuel Transfer
It takes weeks of preparation and takes everyone on station to have an incident free transfer. In the past there has been small spill but we have taken lots of measures to prevent spills, but in the event of a spill we have special materials that soak up only fossil fuels not water.