Pop quiz: what makes for a solid playa conditions? Answer: A winter season full of precipitation, which compacts and solidifies the playa surface.
Well, folks, due to one of the most anemic winters the west coast has seen since 1977, this promises to be one of the dustiest years ever in Black Rock City. If 2011 was your first year, YOU WERE BLESSED BY UNBELIEVABLY GOOD WEATHER AND PLAYA CONDITIONS. It was an anomaly at best, and it won’t be like that this year, no siree. Veteran Burners will tell you that dust is always an integral part of the experience, and it’s so very true … but as much as we revel in and love its alkaline awesomeness, it’s much less fun when you’re not prepared for it.
So you’re really going to want to double down on your dust prevention efforts. Carry goggles and a dust mask (we prefer bandanas, as they’re more flexible) with you at all times, bring plastic tubs and ziplock bags to keep your stuff dust-free (until it’s not), and do your best to dust-proof your shelter (hint: a summer tent with mesh walls will quickly become a dust bucket). Bring fat-tired bikes to push through the heavy dunes, extra contact lenses, plenty of baby wipes to clean yourself off, olive oil to unstick your various zippers … you get the idea. Oh and we’ve got some advice for asthmatics on playa.
It’s also important to be aware of how to deal and what to do in whiteout and storm conditions, which can whip up at a moment’s notice. The most important one? Don’t move in a whiteout … stop driving, stop riding your bike, find someplace safe to hunker down until it passes. More information and tips can be found in the (aptly named) Survival Guide. And never leave your camp without first battening down everything that could blow away.
Lastly, it’s looking like it might be HOT too. We’re seeing daytime temperatures in the triple digits this week. Of course, weather can change on a dime, and it gets COLD at night, so prepare for all conditions. Welcome to the radical self-reliance part of Burning Man. We’ll keep the light on for ya.