Ground Blizzard

4/16/2012 9:56:04 PM

Ground Blizzard


The definition of a ground blizzard is when the wind is blowing hard enough to transport snow across the landscape. The minimum wind speed for snow to be transported is 12 miles per hour. If the wind is blowing harder, it transports snow farther, faster, and higher, creating white out conditions. The visibility becomes minimal to zero and frostbite can occur on exposed skin within minutes. It's dangerous to be moving in any type of vehicle during a ground blizzard and it's extremely dangerous to be outside working.

April bundled up by snow machine

We're traveling by snow machine a total distance of 40 miles in a ground blizzard today to monitor four dens with collared grizzly bear mothers inside. I'm wearing four layers of jackets and parkas to try to block out the wind. I've also put up the fur ruff on my parka jacket to shield my face from the wind and I have on my warmest beaver mittens. It's cold and the wind still allows the cold to seep into tiny cracks in my clothes. The outside temperature isn't too bad at 0F, but add a wind speed of 25-35 mph and that makes the wind chill a cold -45F.

April bundled up

Kavik and Grace, the two Karelian Bear Dogs, travel in the heated Hagglunds vehicle to conserve their energy until it's time to find the grizzly den sites. Once at the sites they are willing and eager to go "find the bear!" Even under such extreme, cold-weather conditions, Kavik and Grace are able to find each grizzly bear den successfully. They're proving themselves to be effective bear den locators. Tomorrow, we'll venture out to polar bear den territory again, hoping to find an abandoned polar bear den!

Grace looks out from the Hagglunds

Air temperature: 0F
Wind speed: 25-35 mph
Windchill -45F

Photos copyright April Cheuvront.

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