Expedition update from 21.05.2013
22-23 of May 2013.
Attached are some blizzard warning forecast maps which show a serious situation developing over the next two days. A Low pressure center is tracking towards the north pole, and there is a sharp front extending southwards from this Low towards Canada. Winds ahead of this front (to the east of the front) are from the south-southwest and they are gale-force (35+ kts). The Blizzard forecast maps show the area with greatest blizzard potential in red (where winds are 35+ kts and where there is also falling snow). This front will reach Ward Hunt Island Wednesday evening and will then cross the area overnight. By Thursday morning winds should start shifting. Winds behind the front (to the west of the front) are from the west.
The strong southerly winds ahead of the approaching front will open and widen many east-west oriented fractures in the area of the expedition. The shore lead between the pack ice and the coastal fast ice in the vicinity of Ward Hunt Ice Shelf will widen significantly. The westerly winds behind the front on Thursday will not help very much with the closing of this shore lead.
From their reported position, it appears the expedition are now just on the north side of the shore lead. I am not sure if they can find a way across before the blizzard hits them. Otherwise they will be in the precarious position of having to camp in a blizzard on very mobile pack ice which will be actively fracturing around them.
Trudy Wohlleben – Canadian Ice Service
Expedition is using satellite tracking beacons – Yellow Brick. Current position is here: http://yb.tl/konyukhov