Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Mid-August 2011 Cooling Trend


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


On a night that features temperatures dropping into the chilly 40s amid cooler mountain valleys it is rather interesting, or perhaps scary, to think that in only 60 days, sometimes even less, a scene like above could be on display amid the awesome and majestic High Knob Massif.


MIN temperatures reached 45 to 50 degrees into morning hours of August 17 from mid-upper elevation valleys in the High Knob Massif and City of Norton to Burkes Garden.

Even cooler conditions were later observed during the morning of August 23 when upper 30s to upper 40s were recorded.

August 16-September 25
"Inspired By Mountains:
The High Knob In Focus"
That is one of my favorite photos from Roddy Addington and brings attention to an event called "High Knob In Focus" that will be featured at the Charles Harris Art Gallery in the Wise County Public Library through the end of September 2011.

It showcases pictures by photographers: 

Roddy Addington
Bill Harris
Richard Kretz

A public reception will be held on August 21 from 2 to 5 PM, with a presentation on High Knob by naturalist & photographer Richard Kretz.  Check it out!

Mid-August cooling has been notable with temperatures during daylight hours of August 15 struggling to break 60 degrees on High Knob as mid 60s were felt in the City of Norton through early afternoon.

Compare that to the Climate Stats for August 1-15 below.


Climate Statistics For
August 1-15, 2011

Rainbow In A Blue Sky - August 8, 2011
Photograph by Wayne Riner - © All Rights Reserved.

Wayne Riner Thoughts...
"We sat in the door of the garage breaking beans that were warm fom the garden.  It rained and cleared to reveal a rainbow against a blue sky.  The browning leaves of the black locust in the bottom right tells me that summer is near to the end."

Another awesome photograph by my friend Wayne Riner that records a moment in time amid this long summer of 2011 as only it can be in the highlands of these famed southern Appalachians!

Climate Stats For August 1-15

( Lower Elevations of Russell Fork Basin )
Clintwood 1 W - Elevation 1560 feet
Average Daily MAX: 83.1 degrees
Average Daily MIN: 63.2 degrees
MEAN: 73.2 degrees
Highest Temperature: 88 degrees
Lowest Temperature: 58 degrees
August 1-15 Rainfall: 1.51"
2011 Precipitation: 41.01"

( Northern Base of High Knob Massif )
City of Norton - Elevation 2141 feet
Average Daily MAX: 82.4 degrees
Average Daily MIN: 60.2 degrees
MEAN: 71.3 degrees
Highest Temperature: 87 degrees
Lowest Temperature: 54 degrees
August 1-14 Rainfall: 3.32"
2011 Precipitation: 46.27"

( Along the Tennessee Valley Divide )
Nora 4 SSE - Elevation 2650 feet
Average Daily MAX: 81.8 degrees
Average Daily MIN: 64.2 degrees
MEAN: 73.0 degrees
Highest Temperature: 86 degrees
Lowest Temperature: 58 degrees
August 1-15 Rainfall: 1.82"
2011 Precipitation: 36.24"

( Northern Edge of The Cedars )
Jonesville 3.1 WSW - Elevation 1422 feet
Average Daily MAX: 86.6 degrees
Average Daily MIN: 63.3 degrees
MEAN: 75.0 degrees
Highest Temperature: 92 degrees
Lowest Temperature: 59 degrees
August 1-15 Rainfall: 3.68"
2011 Precipitation: 34.98"

In the High Knob high country temp means during the first half of August varied from low-mid 70s by day at highest elevations into 50s to lower 60s at night between the cooler basins and exposed ridges ( highest temps staying under 80 degrees on northern slopes of upper elevations ).

Rain continued to be relatively abundant with a general 3.00" to 4.00" across the massif area into much of its adjoining landform ( extremes varying from around 2.00" to 4.00"+ during the August 1-15 period ).


( Updated: August 30, 2011 )
Amazing Satellite Images
Hurricane Irene

NASA Water Vapor Image at 4:15 AM - August 27, 2011
Image Courtesy of SSEC - University of Wisconsin-Madison

While most were fast asleep simply amazing clouds were streaming above the mountains of southwest Virginia and eastern West Virginia from the outflow of hurricane Irene poised to make her first landfall on the North Carolina Outer Banks.

Like sharp talons of a bird of prey these amazing clouds appeared to grip the outer-most ring of enhanced upper-level outflow from Irene.

Water Vapor Image at 4:15 AM - August 27, 2011
Region of Interest From Previous Larger Image

Irene began to look photogenic on August 25, with even the great High Knob Landform ( HKL ) and southern Appalachians visible on this amazing super high resolution NASA image in upper left.

( Large 27.4 MB Image )
Super High Resolution NASA Visible
Hurricane Irene At 11:50 AM - August 25, 2011
Image Courtesy of the Earth Observatory

The size of Irene can be seen in this next image taken on August 26 from a continental perspective.

( Large 16.8 MB Image )
Super High Resolution NASA Visible
Hurricane Irene at 12:32 PM - August 26, 2011
Image Courtesy of the Earth Observatory

As Irene moved slowly northward upslope clouds developed on northerly winds during the daylight hours of August 27, complete with gravity waves and other forms displayed on the following image series.

NASA Visible Image at 11:15 AM - August 27, 2011
All images courtesy of the Earth Science Office

Note a vast extent of fair skies west of the Appalachians as thicker, lower clouds banked up against windward slopes of the remnant massif-northwestern arm of the High Knob Landform.

NASA Visible Image at 11:55 AM - August 27, 2011

NASA Visible Image at 12:15 PM - August 27, 2011

NASA Visible Image at 12:32 PM - August 27, 2011

NASA Visible Image at 1:10 PM - August 27, 2011

The northerly flow kept temps in the 60s during daylight hours of August 27-28 amid upper elevations in the High Knob Massif, with mid 70s in the City of Norton.

NASA Visible Image at 1:25 PM - August 27, 2011

NASA Visible Image at 1:45 PM - August 27, 2011

With clearing skies MIN temps again dropped into the 40s during morning hours of August 29-30 to continue a very nice stretch of AM coolness observed through the second half of the month, with 50-55 degree mean lows felt from the City of Norton upward across lofty basins in the High Knob high country.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Summer 2011 Gets Even WETTER


July 25, 2011
Flash Flood In Town of Wise - Wading Water!
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

The High Knob Landform

When too much rain falls too fast just about any place will flood, even a plateau or "mountain-top" town like Wise with a benchmark elevation of 2454 feet ( but a vertical spread of between 2200 and 2700 feet ).


Climate Statistics
For July 2011

July 21, 2011
The Small Dark Toad - Raining Frogs & Toads Too!
Photograph by Wayne Riner - © All Rights Reserved.

Wayne Riner Thoughts...
"While doing some work outside, I noticed movement underfoot.  Not wanting to step on such a small toad, I picked it up and moved it to a safe place.  There is a wet spot on the ring; let's hope the saying is not true!"

Perhaps this little toad knew something we didn't, catching Wayne's attention just a few days before flash flooding rains struck with fury...no warts, but a bounty of RAIN!

( Lower Elevations of Russell Fork Basin )
Clintwood 1 W - Elevation 1560 feet
Average Daily MAX: 82.6 degrees
Average Daily MIN: 64.4 degrees
MEAN: 73.5 degrees
Highest Temperature: 88 degrees
Lowest Temperature: 52 degrees
July Rainfall: 9.20"
2011 Precipitation: 39.50"

( Northern Base of High Knob Massif )
City of Norton - Elevation 2141 feet
Average Daily MAX: 82.0 degrees
Average Daily MIN: 61.2 degrees
MEAN: 71.6 degrees
Highest Temperature: 89 degrees
Lowest Temperature: 49 degrees
July Rainfall: 8.43"
2011 Precipitation: 42.95"

( Along the Tennessee Valley Divide )
Nora 4 SSE - Elevation 2650 feet
Average Daily MAX: 80.8 degrees
Average Daily MIN: 64.8 degrees
MEAN: 72.8 degrees
Highest Temperature: 88 degrees
Lowest Temperature: 59 degrees
July Rainfall: 6.15"
2011 Precipitation: 34.42"

( Northern Edge of The Cedars )
Jonesville 3.1 WSW - Elevation 1422 feet
Average Daily MAX: 88.3 degrees
Average Daily MIN: 65.9 degrees
MEAN: 75.7 degrees
Highest Temperature: 95 degrees
Lowest Temperature: 58 degrees
July Rainfall: 3.78"
2011 Precipitation: 31.30"

In the High Knob highcountry July temp means ranged in the 70s to around 80 degrees above 2700 feet by day into the 50s to middle 60s at night.

July rainfall was above average with a large variation between 6.00" and 14.00" being common across the massif ( 8.00" to 10.00" being typical in the Norton-Ramsey to Tacoma-Coeburn corridor, including Guest Mountain and other portions of the Wise Plateau ).

My friends Otis & Nancy Ward measured 12.25" of July rainfall in the Robinson Knob community of the High Knob Massif, boosting their summer rain tally to 18.73" since June 1 
( more than 20.00" have fallen in wettest spots ).

Robinson Knob sits along a drainage divide between the Burns Creek, Mill Creek, and Little Stony Creek basins of the High Knob Massif, with the measuring site being approximately 5.5 air miles SE of the City of Norton and 6.0 air miles SSE of Wise.

July 25, 2011
Town of Wise Flash Flooding
Surrounded By Muddy Flood Waters
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

July 2011 Rainfall Days
Robinson Knob of High Knob Massif
Observers: Otis & Nancy Ward
Elevation 3240 feet

( Daily Amounts Ending In The AM )

7/5: 1.03"
7/6:  0.64"
7/7:  0.07"
7/8:  0.55"
7/9:  0.29"

7/12:  0.93"
7/13:  0.03"
7/14:  0.02"
7/15:  0.88"
7/16:  0.40"
7/17:  0.15"

7/20:  0.20"

7/23:  0.06"
7/24:  1.27"
7/25:  2.57"
7/26:  2.05"

7/28:  0.05"

7/30:  1.00"
7/31:  0.06"

Total: 12.25"

Total Since June 1: 18.73"

2011 Total: 48.20" ( M )
( 6.89" per month mean )

( M ) - Indicates some missing moisture amid winter snowfall and smaller evaporative losses between hand-measurements during the cold season ( 4"-diameter NWS rain gauge ).

July 25, 2011
Flash Flooding In Town of Wise
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

July 2011 was simply another routine month at Big Cherry Dam with half a foot plus of rainfall, making 33 consecutive months with a mean of 6.29" per month ( *the highest on record in Virginia ).

( * ) - The highest on record from a NWS rain gage over such an extended period of time ( does not include up to 3.00"+ per year of moisture losses in evaporation & snowfall from the rain gage ).

[ The rain gage at Big Cherry Dam was read 4 times during July ]. 


Big Cherry Dam of High Knob Massif
Monthly Precipitation Totals
Observers: Gary Hampton & Staff
Elevation 3120 feet

2008
November:  4.36"
December: 8.49"

2009
January: 9.23"
February: 4.36"
March: 5.51"
April: 5.40"
May: 7.07"
June: 5.44"
July: 8.42"
August: 7.08"
September: 9.09"
October: 4.36"
November: 3.88"
*December: 11.50"

2010
*January: 6.25"
*February: 4.25"
*March: 4.50"
April: 3.78"
May: 6.99"
June: 9.53"
July: 4.27"
August: 8.91"
September: 2.88"
October: 2.84"
November: 4.05"
*December: 7.35"

2011
January: 4.51"
February: 4.53"
March: 9.85"
April: 10.08"
May: 5.38"
June: 6.16"
July: 7.18"

2011 Total: 47.69" ( M )

Orographic Forcing Season Total
November 2010-April 2011: 40.37" ( M )
( 6.06" per month average )

12-Month Total: 73.72" ( M )

24-Month Total: 149.20" ( M )

2-Year Mean Precipitation: 74.60" ( M )

33-Month Total: 207.48" ( M )

33-Month Mean Monthly Precip: 6.29"

Mean Per 12-Month Periods: 75.48" ( M )

( * ) - Indicates that total was estimated or partly estimated due to severe winter conditions.

( M ) - Denotes that total precipitation was greater than rain gage total due to evaporation between hand-measurements observed at the Dam ( the mean evaporative loss is estimated to have been 3.00" to 3.50" per year as partly based upon observed losses at Clintwood 1 W ) and deep falls of snow greater than the rain gage could physically hold.

[ All measurements courtesy of Superintendent Gary Hampton & Staff at the Big Stone Gap Water Plant in South Fork Gorge ].

The Big Cherry Dam measuring point has literally missed a bucket full of rain since May 1, and the beginning of the convective season for 2011, such that wettest places in the High Knob Massif have easily had over 50.00" of precipitation this year to create a 40.00" moisture gradient across the Old Dominion between wettest and driest locations.  Amazing!








July & Summer Rainfall Totals And
2011 Precipitation Totals From Across
Virginia & The District Of Columbia
( Summer Rain Totals Since June 1 )
( 2011 Totals From January 1-July 31 )

Emporia 1 WNW
July Rainfall: 4.61"
Summer Rain: 5.24"
2011 Precipitation: 16.55"
( 2 days missing June )

John H. Kerr / Buggs Island Dam
July Rainfall: 2.65"
Summer Rain: 4.95"
2011 Precipitation: 16.82"
( 5 days missing January-March )

Eastville
July Rainfall: 4.63"
Summer Rain: 8.76"
2011 Precipitation: 17.29"
( 1 day missing June )

Wallops Island
July Rainfall: 2.83"
Summer Rain: 7.24"
2011 Precipitation: 17.57"

Great Dismal National Wildlife Refuge
July Rainfall: 2.89"
Summer Rain: 5.22"
2011 Precipitation: 17.77"

Washington D. C. National Airport
July Rainfall: 3.03"
Summer Rain: 4.71"
2011 Precipitation: 18.38"

Virginia Beach RAWS
July Rainfall: 4.89"
Summer Rain: 7.52"
2011 Precipitation: 19.33"

Hampton University
July Rainfall: 8.61"
Summer Rain: 10.58"
2011 Precipitation: 19.53"

Brookneal
July Rainfall: 4.17"
Summer Rain: 6.15"
2011 Precipitation: 20.04"

Buena Vista
July Rainfall: 2.04"
Summer Rain: 3.62"
2011 Precipitation: 20.16"

Chase City
July Rainfall: 5.02"
Summer Rain: 6.37"
2011 Precipitation: 20.67"

Chatham
July Rainfall: 2.25"
Summer Rain: 4.20"
2011 Precipitation: 20.87"

Suffolk Lake Kilby
July Rainfall: 4.01"
Summer Rain: 7.77"
2011 Precipitation: 20.87"

South Boston
July Rainfall: 4.07"
Summer Rain: 5.72"
2011 Precipitation: 21.10"

Appomattox
July Rainfall: 4.02"
Summer Rain: 6.66"
2011 Precipitation: 21.28"
( 5 days missing during year )

Farmville 2 N
July Rainfall: 4.44"
Summer Rain: 5.47"
2011 Precipitation: 21.36"

Danville
July Rainfall: 3.88"
Summer Rain: 5.44"
2011 Precipitation: 21.40"

Buckingham
July Rainfall: 4.79"
Summer Rain: 8.53"
2011 Precipitation: 21.58"

Alberta 5 N
July Rainfall: 4.82"
Summer Rain: 9.47"
2011 Precipitation: 21.59"

Lynchburg
July Rainfall: 2.99"
Summer Rain: 6.80"
2011 Precipitation: 21.60"

Washington D. C. Dulles Airport
July Rainfall: 2.58"
Summer Rain: 3.98"
2011 Precipitation: 21.62"

Kerrs Creek 6 WNW
July Rainfall: 1.51"
Summer Rain: 3.79"
2011 Precipitation: 22.18"

Richmond
July Rainfall: 3.63"
Summer Rain: 6.66"
2011 Precipitation: 22.49"

Warrenton 5.5 SSE
July Rainfall: 2.83"
Summer Rain: 4.48"
2011 Precipitation: 22.49"

( Orange )
Piedmont Research Station
July Rainfall: 2.43"
Summer Rain: 5.85"
2011 Precipitation: 22.53"
( 1 day missing May )

( Sandston )
Highland Springs
July Rainfall: 6.04"
Summer Rain: 9.89"
2011 Precipitation: 22.75"
( 1 day missing July )

Martinsville Filter Plant
July Rainfall: 1.04"
Summer Rain: 5.13"
2011 Precipitation: 22.83"

Lexington
July Rainfall: 2.69" 
Summer Rain: 5.55"
2011 Precipitation: 23.06"

Philpott Dam 2
July Rainfall: 2.03"
Summer Rain: 3.58"
2011 Precipitation: 23.21"
( 5 days missing January-March )

Roanoke
July Rainfall: 3.76"
Summer Rain: 7.27"
2011 Precipitation: 23.64"

Buchanan
July Rainfall: 2.15"
Summer Rain: 4.12"
2011 Precipitation: 23.71"

New Castle RAWS
July Rainfall: 2.85"
Summer Rain: 4.79"
2011 Precipitation: 23.73"

Woodstock 2 NE
July Rainfall: 1.10"
Summer Rain: 6.37"
2011 Precipitation: 23.73"
( 4 days missing during year )

Wakefield 1 NW
July Rainfall: 7.51"
Summer Rain: 10.86"
2011 Precipitation: 23.79"

Walkerton 2 NW
July Rainfall: 6.21"
Summer Rain: 10.51"
2011 Precipitation: 24.13"

Wytheville 1 S
July Rainfall: 2.53"
Summer Rain: 5.51"
2011 Precipitation: 24.14"

Louisa
July Rainfall: 2.85"
Summer Rain: 6.95"
2011 Precipitation: 24.17"

Charlottesville
July Rainfall: 2.87"
Summer Rain: 4.18"
2011 Precipitation: 24.28"

Strasburg 3.7 N
July Rainfall: 1.45"
Summer Rain: 6.37"
2011 Precipitation: 24.28"

Waynesboro WTP
July Rainfall: 2.50"
Summer Rain: 5.42"
2011 Precipitation: 24.41"
( 2 days missing March )

Gathright Dam
July Rainfall: 1.82"
Summer Rain: 4.10"
2011 Precipitation: 24.46"

Pulaski 2 E
July Rainfall: 5.93"
Summer Rain: 7.46"
2011 Precipitation: 24.61"

Edinburg
July Rainfall: 0.86"
Summer Rain: 4.29"
2011 Precipitation: 24.63"
( 1 day missing February )

Somerset
July Rainfall: 1.92"
Summer Rain: 6.02"
2011 Precipitation: 24.82"

Hopewell RAWS
July Rainfall: 10.60"
Summer Rain: 11.86"
2011 Precipitation: 24.85"

Staffordsville 3 ENE
July Rainfall: 4.21"
Summer Rain: 5.39"
2011 Precipitation: 24.90"

Holcomb Rock
July Rainfall: 2.23"
Summer Rain: 5.01"
2011 Precipitation: 24.93"

Disputanta
July Rainfall: 9.31"
Summer Rain: 13.05"
2011 Precipitation: 25.05"

Staunton WTP
July Rainfall: 4.20"
Summer Rain: 7.05"
2011 Precipitation: 25.16"

Mt. Weather
July Rainfall: 1.85"
Summer Rain: 4.24"
2011 Precipitation: 25.19"
( 1 day missing March )

Stuart
July Rainfall: 2.35"
Summer Rain: 5.34"
2011 Precipitation: 25.42"
( 3 days missing in January & February )

Covington Filter Plant
July Rainfall: 4.86"
Summer Rain: 7.75"
2011 Precipitation: 25.54"

Abingdon 3 S
July Rainfall: 1.50"
Summer Rain: 4.17"
2011 Precipitation: 25.77"
( 9 missing days January-June )

Winchester
July Rainfall: 4.21"
Summer Rain: 6.25"
2011 Precipitation: 25.81"

Dale Enterprise
July Rainfall: 2.48"
Summer Rain: 6.13"
2011 Precipitation: 25.93"
( 1 day missing February )

Bluefield, WV
July Rainfall: 3.34"
Summer Rain: 5.15"
2011 Precipitation: 26.06"

Millgap 2 NNW
July Rainfall: 1.04"
Summer Rain: 2.33"
2011 Precipitation: 26.55"

Galax WTP
July Rainfall: 1.95"
Summer Rain: 5.10"
2011 Precipitation: 26.59"

Bland
July Rainfall: 5.63"
Summer Rain: 6.78"
2011 Precipitation: 26.69"
( 3 days missing January )

Keysville 2 S
July Rainfall: 6.47"
Summer Rain: 8.72"
2011 Precipitation: 26.69"
( 2 days missing January )

Christiansburg
July Rainfall: 1.55"
Summer Rain: 4.38"
2011 Precipitation: 27.16"

Blacksburg
July Rainfall: 3.78"
Summer Rain: 6.56"
2011 Precipitation: 27.25"

Glasgow 1 SE
July Rainfall: 1.92"
Summer Rain: 4.06"
2011 Precipitation: 27.33"

Norfolk
July Rainfall: 10.89"
Summer Rain: 15.52"
2011 Precipitation: 27.52"

Luray 5 E
July Rainfall: 2.94"
Summer Rain: 6.26"
2011 Precipitation: 27.82"

Woolwine
July Rainfall: 2.00"
Summer Rain: 3.39"
2011 Precipitation: 28.07"

Saltville 1 N
July Rainfall: 2.98"
Summer Rain: 5.97"
2011 Precipitation: 28.42"

Burkes Garden
July Rainfall: 3.71"
Summer Rain: 7.00"
2011 Precipitation: 28.70"

Richlands
July Rainfall: 4.91"
Summer Rain: 7.44"
2011 Precipitation: 28.87"

Hot Springs
July Rainfall: 2.28"
Summer Rain: 5.70"
2011 Precipitation: 30.18"
( 1 day missing January )

Trout Dale 3 SSE
July Rainfall: 7.00"
Summer Rain: 8.41"
2011 Precipitation: 30.18"

Marion 4.4 WSW
July Rainfall: 4.27"
Summer Rain: 7.43"
2011 Precipitation: 30.31"
( 4 days missing during year )

Jonesville 3.1 WSW
July Rainfall: 3.78"
Summer Rain: 7.66"
2011 Precipitation: 31.30"

Lebanon
July Rainfall: 5.82"
Summer Rain: 9.01"
2011 Precipitation: 31.55"

Monticello
July Rainfall: 3.11"
Summer Rain: 8.13"
2011 Precipitation: 31.91"

Rocky Mount, VA
July Rainfall: 10.96"
Summer Rain: 12.35"
2011 Precipitation: 32.27"

Grundy
July Rainfall: 6.05"
Summer Rain: 9.37"
2011 Precipitation: 32.55"

Mustoe 1.2 SW
July Rainfall: 3.63"
Summer Rain: 6.61"
2011 Precipitation: 33.13"
( 5 days missing during year )

Lebanon 2.7 SSW
July Rainfall: 5.18"
Summer Rain: 10.27"
2011 Precipitation: 34.38"

Nora 4 SSE
July Rainfall: 6.15"
Summer Rain: 10.03"
2011 Precipitation: 34.42"

( Vantage Pro2 Station )
Grayson Highlands State Park
July Rainfall: 7.46"
Summer Rain: 10.11"
2011 Precipitation: 35.91"

Meadows of Dan 5 SW
July Rainfall: 3.63"
Summer Rain: 9.02"
2011 Precipitation: 36.49"

Appalachia Lake Water Plant
July Rainfall: 6.47"
Summer Rain: 13.39"
2011 Precipitation: 38.89"

Clintwood 1 W
July Rainfall: 9.20"
Summer Rain: 15.45"
2011 Precipitation: 39.50"

Coeburn Filtration Plant
July Rainfall: 10.00"
Summer Rain: 15.04"
2011 Precipitation: 40.31"

( South Fork Gorge )
Big Stone Gap Water Plant
July Rainfall: 5.35"
Summer Rain: 11.94"
2011 Precipitation: 41.69"

Norton Water Plant
July Rainfall: 8.43"
Summer Rain: 14.83"
2011 Precipitation: 42.95"

( Yellow Creek, Ky., RAWS )
Cumberland Gap National Historical Park
July Rainfall: 3.92"
Summer Rain: 15.74"
2011 Precipitation: 45.57"

Big Cherry Dam of High Knob Massif
July Rainfall: 7.18"
Summer Rain: 13.34"
2011 Precipitation: 47.69" ( M )

Robinson Knob of High Knob Massif
July Rainfall: 12.25"
Summer Rain: 18.73"
2011 Precipitation: 48.20" ( M )

( M ) - Denotes that total precipitation was greater than rain gage total due to evaporation between hand-measurements and physical gage losses in deep falls of snow.

NOTE: Locations with missing days in the above data set may or may not have had any precipitation on those days.



Drought Status Report From The
Virginia Drought Monitoring Task Force
( Updated: August 4, 2011 )

Precipitation data from the Climatology Office of the University of Virginia for each of the Drought Evaluation Regions highlighted below on the DEQ graphic follows for 2011 and the longer term period since May 1, 2010.

Graphic Courtesy of the
Virginia Department Of Environmental Quality ( DEQ )

Note: The Upper Tennessee River Basin is included in the "Big Sandy" drought evaluation region of southwestern Virginia.

Mean Precipitation Total For
January 1 to July 31, 2011
( and percent of normal )

Big Sandy: 30.68" 
( 107% )

New River: 26.69"
( 106% )

Roanoke: 23.59"
( 85% )

Upper James: 25.58"
( 101% )

Middle James: 25.23"
( 96% )

Shenandoah: 25.69"
( 113% )

Northern Virginia: 21.67"
( 87% )

Northern Piedmont: 23.71"
( 90% )

Chowan: 21.10"
( 77% )

Northern Coastal Plain: 20.08"
( 76% )

York-James: 24.21"
( 85% )

Southeast Virginia: 24.43"
( 88% )

Eastern Shore: 20.16"
( 82% )

 2011 Statewide Average: 24.61"
 ( 92% of normal )

The Virginia statewide average precipitation total for 2011 up to July 31 was 24.61" or around 50% of measured High Knob Massif amounts ( which are not included in these means ).


Precipitation departures below normal resulted in below average stream flows and the above noted drought, or abnormally dry, parts of Virginia as of August 3, 2011.


Longer-Term Mean Precipitation Total For
May 1, 2010 to July 31, 2011
( and percent of normal )

Big Sandy: 62.38" 
( 105% )

New River: 53.85"
( 102% )

Roanoke: 54.63" 
( 93% )

Upper James: 51.07"
( 95% )

Middle James: 51.07"
( 90% )

Shenandoah: 47.41"
( 95% )

Northern Virginia: 47.94"
( 88% )

Northern Piedmont: 48.91"
( 84% )

Chowan: 50.94"
( 88% )

Northern Coastal Plain: 44.41"
( 79% )

York-James: 51.48"
( 84% )

Southeast Virginia: 59.67"
( 100% )

Eastern Shore: 42.22"
( 81% )

15-Month Statewide Average: 52.08" 
( 92% of normal )

The Big Cherry Dam total for this period was 94.51" with missing moisture from the gage that is estimated to have resulted in losses of 3% to 5% due to evaporation between hand-measurements and physical gage loss in deep falls of snow.

[ The total in the official gage at the City of Norton Water Plant during this 15-month period was 83.82" from daily measurements and no physical gage loss in snowfall ( i.e., does not include any wind induced losses from the rain gage and assumes that the gage could hold the deepest falls of snow ) ].

So instead of being 182% of this 15-month statewide average, precipitation falling upon the Big Cherry Dam measuring point was actually around 190% or more of the Virginia mean for this period ( i.e., around double ) as could have been seen if possible to measure daily with a bigger gage.

[ In reality, since wind induced rain gage undercatches are not being considered, nor are fog drip from trees and rime deposition on trees, the true water budget of the Big Cherry Basin is much greater than reflected by its rain gage catches & estimated losses for evaporation and what the gage could not hold in snowfall ( * ) ].

*While fog drip from trees can be a notable secondary moisture source across the Old Dominion, especially in its heavily forested sections, significant rime deposition upon trees is restricted to only a few major mountain masses in western Virginia.


July 2011 HEAT
( Notable In Interesting Ways )

July 29, 2011
Long Ridge of the Tennessee Valley Divide
"BB" and Friends On A Hot July Afternoon
Photograph by Wayne Riner - © All Rights Reserved.

Wayne Riner thoughts...
"It's That Hot:  Late July heat causes "BB" and friends to wade into the water for respite from the heat."

Although folks living beneath the core of the major USA heat dome would laugh at this type of "heat," given no days officially reached 90 degrees in the Norton-Wise, Long Ridge, and High Knob Massif during Summer 2011, it was notable in some rather interesting ways.

It was just too WET for 90 degree heat from Clintwood south into the High Knob highcountry during July, as highlighted, with all that moisture making many days feel like 90+ ( at least at elevations below 3000 feet ).

A major reason being that the suns energy does little to directly heat the air, instead it heats up the surfaces of Earth which then supply heat to the overlying air.

If those surfaces are wet, or really WET, much of this insolation from the sun typically goes into evaporating water which is a cooling process, such that less energy is left to indirectly heat the air.

Due to atmospheric feedback, wetness also breeds more wet times via the generation of clouds and eventual downpours in showers & thunderstorms.

The Bottom Line, its hard to get REALLY HOT during a really wet summer as judged by MAX temperatures alone!

[ This is especially true at mid-upper elevations ( above 2000 feet ) in the High Knob Landform and highlands of the great southern Appalachians where summer clouds play major roles in holding back MAX temperatures.  During summer 2010 and 2011 this generated simply HUGE contrasts with the Great Valley of eastern Tennessee where 90 degree days ran rampant above drier surfaces in the open valley ].

However, there is more than one way to have notable "heat."

1 ).  HIGH Dewpoints = SWEAT.

2 ).  WARM nights!

July 25, 2011
Flash Flood On The Wise Plateau
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

Dewpoints prior to the Wise flash flood, and other high water events, were about as high as ever obtained here in the mountains with 70+ degree dewpoints to above 4000 feet at one point. 

No wonder some places with elevation had more than
a FOOT of July rainfall in the High Knob Massif.

High dewpoints generated not only alot of rain and sweat, making conditions feel hotter than actual air temperatures, but also kept nights warm.

In fact, the warmest on record in places!

Many locations across the region set record high night-time MINS during July, with 4 nights in specific that never dropped below 70 degrees at my mountain hollow location near Clintwood ( two of those being back-to-back warmest nights of all-time during
July 21-22 with 71 and 72 degree MINS, respectively ).

While mid-upper elevation valleys in the High Knob Massif area at least dropped into the 60s during every July 2011 night, the above feat was notable for the Clintwood 1 W location where cool air drainage also rules and its very rare to not fall below 70 degrees at night.

A total of 6 nights during Summer 2011, and 2 nights in Summer 2010, are the most ever documented at or above 70 degrees amid the 1560 foot location of Clintwood 1 W where a finger of mixed-mesophytic cove hardwood forest is dominated by American Beech ( Fagus grandifolia ) trees.