September 5. 1912: The end of fine weather in Adelie Land

–from Douglas Mawson’s account, “The Home of the Blizzard”–

“At 4 p.m. on September 5, while a number of the men were still dredging out on the floe, whirlies with great columns of drift came steadily down the glacier, pouring over the seaward cliffs.   In a few minutes the clouds of snow were round the Hut and the wind was not long in working up to eighty miles per hour.  It was all so sudden that the dredging party had a narrow escape.  The sea-ice soon vanished to thte north.  Thus ended one of the most remarkable periods of fine weather experience by us in Adelie Land, only to be excelled in the height of the summer.

“The possibility of such a spell being repeated fired us with the hope that after all a reasonable amount of sledging could be accomplished in the spring.  Three parties were chosen to reconnoitre in different directions and to test the sledging gear.  As were were far from being confident about the weather, I mad it clear that no party sould penetrate farther than fifty miles from the Hut, nor remain away longer than a fortnight.  There were all to drag their own sledges, for the use of dogs was scarcely possible in such weather.”


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