Sunday, April 25, 2010

Weather or Not

One of my family members asked me to talk about whether or not/how often we were being attacked here at TK; if there were people shooting at us; just how dangerous is it? I told her that sort of discussion would not be appropriate for a public blog as it would deal directly with base security and would likely not be looked upon too kindly by the powers-that-be and not too conducive in maintaining the integrity of my butt - as it would be chewed up one side and down the other by each link of my chain of command.

I did say I felt safe with the security measures in place and asked my family member what else could I tell her about life here and she (okay, it is my Mom) said she was very curious about the weather: the temperature; is it snowing; is it sunny; and was it dusty (I know, that last one is not really weather).

Being as we are in the arid mountains, I thought the sunny and dusty part would be a given, but since she lives in SLC, Utah, and there is sometimes snow in the mountains there through late May, I can understand why she would think we might have the white stuff here.

During one of the briefings we received at Fort Campbell prior to deploying, we were told the weather at TK would roughly parallel what we would experience at Fort Campbell and, for the most part, so far that seems to be roughly the case.

Sunrise is currently occurring about 0515ish. Around 0830ish the sun starts to cook and it gets a bit warm (feels like 80's, but that is subjective and there is a distinct lack of thermometers for accuracy) from then through around 1700ish. Because of the altitude, it seems like the sun is much closer and during the day it can feel like being inside of an Easy Bake Oven (Google it if you are under 35). The evenings can be quite cool, or at least seem so after the intense heat of the day. But as they say in Arizona, “it is a dry heat.”

Once the sun goes down the cooler air sometimes gives up its moisture and we will have bursts of rain (about three or four times in the past 30-odd days) throughout the night. In the mornings there will be some mud and water pooled in ditches, but it is gone by the afternoon.

The first night it rained, while I have been here, I was driving up to the Dutch Compound and passed a depression about 12’ by 3’ with a six or so inches of standing water where I thought I saw several somethings darting in the water and thought of the frogs and other creatures that sleep during the dry times and spring forth for a 24-hour life-span after a rain. But it was just a glimpse and could have been a trick of the light. If I get the chance, next time it rains I will go see if it was frogs or imagination.

What is definitely for real and ever-present, is the dust. The ground vehicles and rotary wing aircraft stir up the particulates, from the smell, there seems to always be something burning somewhere, and we get winds during the evening/night as well as a fairly regular 1500ish wind keeping the air fairly hazy. It all makes for some spectacular sunsets when the sun begins to fade behind the western edge of the mountains ringing our TK valley.

So, there is no snow, lots of dust, and it is baking hot and getting hotter, although we have plenty of bottled water and other liquids to keep us hydrated so the mission continues, weather or not.

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