Saturday, November 6, 2010

Early November 2010: First Wintry BLAST!


State Route 619
High Knob Massif
Snow, Rime, & Slippery Roads!
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

The High Knob Landform

The first real wintry blast of the 2010-11 winter season spread several accumulations of snow over the High Knob Landform, and adjacent high terrain along the Tennessee Valley Divide, during the November 4-6 period.

[ Total snowfall was greater than ground depths in most locations, with this event being primarily a mid-upper elevation snowfall for locations above 2000 feet ].

November 6, 2010
Early Christmas Scene - High Knob Massif
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

Photographer Roddy Addington captured an array of gorgeous scenes to get everyone in an early Christmas mood, despite it being several weeks before Thanksgiving!

The first snowflakes began falling above 3000 feet in the High Knob Massif during morning hours of November 4, with some minor sticking only at the highest elevations.

Elevation 3300 feet
High Chaparral of High Knob Massif
Photograph by Darlene Fields - © All Rights Reserved.

My friend Joe Fields measured 2.5" of snow in the High Chaparral community during the morning of November 5, following a burst of heavy snowfall that also caught everyone's attention as it coated adjacent portions of the Wise Plateau.

Photographs Courtesy of WCYB-TV Archives
News 5 of the Tri-Cities

Heavy Snow In Wise
Photograph Courtesy of David Shelton

Bear Creek of the Wise Plateau
Photograph Courtesy of Cornelius Sabugo

KLNP Elevation: 2684 feet
Heavy Snow Near Lonesome Pine Airport
Photograph Courtesy of Lisa Gilley

Along the Tennessee Valley Divide
Beautiful Camp Bethel in Wise
Photograph Courtesy of Dee Stanley

My friend & photographer Wayne Riner documented the snow band at it spread into the Tennessee Valley Divide of southern Dickenson County, with 0.3" of accumulation on Long Ridge of Sandy Ridge ( E-ENE of the Wise Plateau ).

[ The following morning generated 1.3" of new snowfall at Nora 4 SSE on Long Ridge, for a 1.6" event total during Nov 5-6 ].

Elevation 2650 feet
Tennessee Valley Divide
Long Ridge of Sandy Ridge - November 5, 2010
Photograph by Wayne Riner - © All Rights Reserved.

The snow burst during morning hours of November 5 also spread across the northwestern flank of the High Knob Landform into portions of the Lee County, Va., karst valleys, where my friend and photographer Harold Jerrell captured the fury.

November 5, 2010
Home On The Farm - Lee County, Virginia
 Photograph by Harold Jerrell - © All Rights Reserved.

Some lingering autumn color amid the lowlands of the Powell River Basin added to the furious burst.

Calcareous Core of High Knob Landform
Fury of Snow Burst - November 5, 2010
Photograph by Harold Jerrell - © All Rights Reserved.

That the burst of heavy snow was able to spread into lowlands of the Powell River Basin suggested it was being supported by some enhanced upward vertical motion southwestward of the Tennessee Valley Divide, as similar to higher elevations in the Russell Fork Basin ( N-NE of the Divide and HKL ) had only a few flakes mixed with sleet and rain.

Powell River Basin
November 5, 2010
Late Autumn Color & Snow
Photograph by Harold Jerrell - © All Rights Reserved.

While snow mostly melted in lower elevations of the Powell River Valley, it accumulated amid higher reaches of the Stone-Cumberland mountain arm of the HKL, with significant sticking likely in upper elevations of the Cumberland Gap National Historical Park ( above 2500-3000 feet ).

November 5, 2010
Northwestern Flank of HKL near Cumberland Gap NHP
Cumberland Mountain Above Rose Hill - Lee County
 Photograph by Harold Jerrell - © All Rights Reserved.

[ The mountain becomes much higher in elevation just southwest of the above scene, into upper elevations of Bailes Meadow and the famous Hensley Settlement of great Cumberland Gap NHP ( the entire mountain crestline being completely continuous with the High Knob Massif and Cumberland Gap ) ].



Amazing Wintry Scenes
In The High Knob Massif
November 6, 2010

Slick Roads In High Knob highcountry
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

Another wave of snowfall brought similar accumulations back to the High Knob highcountry into morning hours of November 6, after most of the previous snow had melted away.

New Snow In High Chaparral - November 6
Photograph by Darlene Fields - © All Rights Reserved.

My friend Darlene Fields reported around 2" of new accumulation in High Chaparral during the morning of November 6, bringing the event snowfall total to 4.5" at 3300 feet.

My friends Otis & Nancy Ward reported a similar amount early on November 6 in the Robinson Knob community ( elevation 3230 feet ).

USFS Route 238
High-Eagle Crest Zone ( 4100 feet )
Snow & Riming Amid The Clouds - Nov 6
Photograph by Bill Harris - © All Rights Reserved.

Photographer Bill Harris took an awesome picture of conditions along the crest zone of the massif that him and Roddy encountered, to include a biting morning wind chill ( conditions changed rapidly, as they often do up there, a short while later as sunshine appeared and snow began melting-sublimating yet again ). 

Some of the deepest snow accumulated      upon upper north slopes and across peaks getting numerous bursts of heavy snow, however, depths were never reflective of total falls in most places.

Elevation 4189 feet
Eagle Knob of High Knob Massif
Image by Steve Blankenbecler - © All Rights Reserved.

Event totals during November 4-6 varied between 1" and 6" above 2000 feet within central-southern Wise County, extreme northern Lee & Scott, and southern Dickenson counties ( accumulating snowfall locally dropping lower in elevation along some windward facing slopes such as Pine Mountain on the Virginia-Kentuky border & within the lovely Wallen Creek Basin in Stickleyville of the HKL ).

[ The greatest 4" to 6" totals accumulating during the Nov 4-6 period above 3000 feet in the High Knob Massif, with water contents on Eagle Knob suggesting at least 6" of total snowfall ( although, as noted, daily melting & sublimation kept most ground depths less ).

A general 1" to 3" of snow accumulated during the period within the middle elevations ( 2000-3000 foot zone ), with local accumulations reported below 2000 feet ].

Gorgeous White of Pristine Snow
Fern Buried By Snow - High Knob Massif
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

Event snowfall totals can sometimes be rather deceiving if the ground is relatively warm, like it has been recently in the wake of a warmer than average autumn, with rapid snow melt and settlement even at high elevations ( local exceptions being found upon upper north slopes and in any drift zones ).   

Majestic Scene - High Knob highcountry
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

Scenic settings are abundant in the High Knob highcountry during such nice wintry blasts, with glorious rime formation adding to this pure and truly magnificent beauty captured by Roddy.

High Knob Massif
Awesome RIME Swirl - November 6, 2010
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

Roddy & this website have made a very special effort to document and illustrate the often amazing nature of rime, which essentially can be thought of as the deposition of frozen clouds of water!

Its extraction and deposition made possible by trees and vegetation growing amid the upper elevation cloud zone ( above 3000 feet ) of the sprawling High Knob Massif ( dropping lower in elevation at times ).

To refresh information about rime, please reference the following sections of my website:

High Knob Massif Dazzles In First Wintry Blast

Winter Wonderland - Early December 2009

Belated Christmas Present: Winter Beauty

February 2010 - Month of NW Flow Snowfall

Majesty Of An Endless Winter In The HKL

March 2010 Intro: The Big Show Part I

Glorious Spring Renewal & March Madness!

The above sections include examples of soft rime, hard rime, feathery rime, and even rime coated ice straws in addition to other special settings.

High Knob Massif
November  6, 2010
Last Sugar Maple Color & RIME
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

Rime and snow are much different, with the following photograph illustrating classic riming with depositional growth into the wind.

High Knob Massif - November 6, 2010
Classic Windward Riming
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

This next beauty being mostly snow.

Color Hangs On For Snow!
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

Then there are the Exotic Formations!

Likely Fern Encased In Snow
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

Snow, rime, and hoar frost often combine to generate rather exotic scenes, with riming and hoar frost being most efficient transformers of previous growing season vegetation into hard to recognize but truly beautiful entities!

High Knob Massif
November 6, 2010
Magnificent Lighting of Crystals & Snow
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

When I see the spiral leaves of the above plant it immediately brings to mind an orchid species ( although not likely ), and otherwise reminds one of human figurines frozen in time by the icy, cold breath of the Ole Man of Winter!

Strange But Exotic - November 6, 2010
 Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

Rime covered spider webs are always a favorite, with huge surface to volume ratios of a web truly illustrating how strong the fibers are to support the weight of rime deposition and/or ice crystal growth.

November 6, 2010
Rime Webs In The High Knob highcountry
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

A bitter cold night like the current one, with temps dropping into the 10s, will add many hoar frost crystals to this wondrous mix of wintry magic ( even where rime & snow have melted or sublimated ).

[ MIN temps dipped into the 10s from the City of Norton and Tacoma corridor upward into mid-upper elevation basins of the High Knob Massif during morning hours of November 7 ( with another cold morning on tap in mountain valleys for Nov 8 ) ].

High Knob Massif - November 6, 2010
Suspended In Air - Crystals & Snow
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

More Ferns buried in snow.

High Knob Massif - November 6, 2010
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

To see all the different Fern species which have been documented in the High Knob Landform please reference:


It is interesting to observe how the warmth of these living ferns has generated a melting zone where snow and rime have come into contact with their surfaces, such that a layer of ice has developed to offer more protection ( like spraying strawberries to prevent freeze damage, only here by the hand of Mother Nature ).

High Knob Massif
Buried Alive - Living Ferns Coloring Snow
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

Snow which is white upon falling and later becomes colored is often due to either the outward leaching of plant pigments, as is common in maple and oak leaves, or the growth of some types of algae.

Sugar Maple ( Acer saccharum var. saccharum )
Minor Leaching of Pigment Color - Nov 6
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

Pigment leaching into rime is especially efficient, and I consider this photograph Roddy took amid the first riming event of the 2009-10 winter to be one of the best examples ever!

High Knob Massif
Ekman Spiral Rime Formation
Northern Red Oak ( Quercus rubra var. borealis )
Pigment Leaching Into Rime - October 18, 2009
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

A close inspection of the above photograph finds it to be no less than incredible, with an ekman spiral rime formation and pronounced pigment leaching outward into the rime itself!

This next shot is simply just pretty!

Decorated For The Season
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

Speaking of pretty, Wayne Riner offers some more lovely scenes from the highlands of southern Dickenson County taken during morning hours of November 6.

Tennessee Valley Divide
Our Garden In The Snow - Long Ridge
Photograph by Wayne Riner - © All Rights Reserved.

For snow lovers all these scenes presented during this update are precious, since most living amid the lower terrain ( below 2000 feet ) missed getting any significant snow to stick and cover the ground ( or to even fall with long awaited vigor! ).

From The High Pastures On Long Ridge
Looking Over Wakenva "Holler"
Photograph by Wayne Riner - © All Rights Reserved.

Air temps remained just too warm during much of this event for snow to stick across lower elevations.

November 6, 2010
Retaining A Few Leaves
Yellow Poplar Near Mountain Orchard
Photograph by Wayne Riner - © All Rights Reserved.

For snow haters, this little DUDE that Roddy and Bill Harris had along for the ride says, "don't worry, a warming trend is coming back this week."

Don't Worry...Be HAPPY DUDES!
 Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

More winter likely by around November 18??

Stay tuned!

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