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Blizzard trouble – University of Copenhagen

NEEM > Field diaries folder > UK diaries 2008 > Blizzard trouble

20 May 2008

Blizzard trouble

Afternoon constructions

Afternoon constructions. The frame for a dome tent is assembled.

During the night, we could fell the wind picking up. It was windy and gusty. As we woke up at 7.30, snow was everywhere. Our main generator has ceased to work, and our backup generator refused to start. The kitchen tent was without power. After tree hours of work on the main generator in the blowing snow, we finally managed to start it; but it only ran for half an hour before it stopped again. We put up a tent around the generator, and discovered one broken piston push rod and one bent. The main generator was down. In the kitchen we had to run the gas stove and a primus kerosene burner to keep warm. We then rigged our spare generator for the kitchen, and after a period of preheating and re wiring in the blizzard, we managed to start it. Several crew members chose to stay in bed, as work to maintain the basic functions of camp only required a few.

In the afternoon, the wind abated, and all conditions improved. By late afternoon, we were able to work outside again, and all camp installations (except for the broken generator) were working again.

It appears that the date, May 20, has a curse to it (and it is the Field Leaders brothers birthday too). Two years ago, May 20, 2006, some of us had the exact same experience at the North Eastern corner of Greenland on Flade Isblink. In a blizzard there, all generators ceased to work and we had to resort to primus stoves to keep warm.

What we have done today:

  1. Trying to start main generator in blizzard.
  2. Trying to repair main generator (16 kW MASE), but two piston push rods damaged. Spare parts are ordered.
  3. Repairing the Honda 3 kW generator.
  4. Rearranging electrical cables and supply. Now one Hatz 5kW at food store and one at kitchen.
  5. Establising kerosene stove heating.
  6. Finishing the frame for the 20 foot Red Dome 2.

Weather: WIND: -28 C and more than 20 knots (anemometers ceased to work) wind from N and NE, turning towards the E and abating in the afternoon. In the morning visibility was reduced to 50 m due to blowing snow, in the afternoon visibility was several miles.

FL, J.P. Steffensen

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