17 February 2014

Snow in Afghanistan Desert Halts Combat Operations | RallyPoint.com

By Cid Standifer
Copyright 2014 Stars and Stripes

KANDAHAR AIR FIELD, Afghanistan — A few months ago, daily temperatures spiked at 130 Fahrenheit here. But recently, soldiers slogged through freezing mud and slipped over ice on the boardwalk, while dark, low-hanging clouds made all hours of the day look like dusk.

Snow is exceedingly rare in this southern desert. For a week at the beginning of February, a handful of flurries brought operations here screeching to a halt. All the military’s high-end technology was rendered useless.

1st Lt. Russell Mixon, a Black Hawk pilot, said his crew had been grounded for a week — the first time weather had so severely clipped his wings in six months at Kandahar Air Field. At a coffee shack near the flight line, when asked how the weather was treating him, Spc. Andrew Rivas gave a hard stare and said, “Is that a joke?”

Master Sgt. Steve Fisher, one of the Air Force’s battlefield weather forecasters at Kandahar, has found himself once again the bearer of bad news.

“Weather is changing constantly, and weather is doing exactly what weather does,” he said. “So as we tell people, ‘We’re in sales, not production.’”

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