Sunday, January 15, 2012

Majesty Of January 2012 ( Mid-Winter )


Afternoon of January 14, 2012
RIME Coated Crest Zone of High Knob Massif
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

The High Knob Landform

A WINTER Wonderland of rime, snow, and icy majesty coated the High Knob Massif crest zone for days as the mid-point of Winter 2011-12 officially arrived!

Remnant Massif of The High Knob Landform
Winter Wonderland Of Rime & Snow - PM January 14
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

Photographer Roddy Addington climbed into his world of wintry beauty to capture magnificent scenes for all those saying this is a season "without a winter."

It sure did not look that way from here!

Afternoon of January 14, 2012
Looking Across Southern Wise County, Virginia
Rime & Blue Ridges of The Lofty Highcountry
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

The rime capped massif could be seen for miles on January 14, when not obscured by light snow or clouds, as its bulging mass of snowy highcountry spread out across southern Wise, northern Scott and northeast Lee counties of southwest Virginia.

The first half of January actually produced a good amount of wintry conditions in this area.

Climate Statistics
For January 1-15, 2012

Clintwood 1 W - Elevation 1560 feet
Average Daily MAX: 44.1 degrees
Average Daily MIN: 22.5 degrees
MEAN: 33.3 degrees
Highest Temperature: 60 degrees
Lowest Temperature: 8 degrees
Total Precipitation: 1.05"
Total Snowfall: 10.1"

City of Norton - Elevation 2141 feet
Average Daily MAX: 40.5 degrees
Average Daily MIN: 20.9 degrees
MEAN: 30.7 degrees
Highest Temperature: 52 degrees
Lowest Temperature: 7 degrees
Total Precipitation: 1.86"
Total Snowfall: 11.7"

Nora 4 SSE - Elevation 2650 feet
Average Daily MAX: 40.1 degrees
Average Daily MIN: 24.5 degrees
MEAN: 32.3 degrees
Highest Temperature: 53 degrees
Lowest Temperature: 10 degrees
Total Precipitation: 1.31"
Total Snowfall: 10.2"

In the High Knob highcountry temp means during the first half of January generally varied from 30s by day into the 10s to lower 20s at night.

January 14, 2012
PM MAX Around 20 degrees Holds RIME
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

Precipitation totals of around 2.00" during the first half of January have included a general 12" to 18"+ of snowfall above 2400 feet, with 9 out of 15 days having 1" or more of snow depth in the lofty basin of High Knob Lake ( 31 days for the 2011-12 season ).

January 14, 2012
Jefferson National Forest
Wintry Crest Zone of High Knob Massif
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

Snowfall totals during the first half of winter have been well below average, with between 30" and 40" of snow in the main crest zone of the massif dropping to 18.5" in the City of Norton.
  
[ Snowfall in the City of Norton being MUCH less than observed by this point last winter but still greater than any other city listed for Virginia during this "year without a winter" ].

High Knob Massif Crest Zone
Before The Alberta Clipper Snow - PM January 14
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

Total precipitation since December 1 and the start of meteorological winter has varied from around 9.00" at Big Cherry Dam of the High Knob Massif to 1.87" on Wallops Island in far eastern Virginia, continuing the large 2011 gradient observed across the Old Dominion.

January 14, 2012
Jefferson National Forest of High Knob Massif
Christmas Fern ( Polystichum acrostichoides )
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

Regardless of what season you may love most, there is no denying the beauty of winter!

Afternoon of January 14, 2012
RIME Coated Forest In High Knob Massif
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

There were around 19 active riming days during the first half of winter amid the main crest zone to contribute additional moisture to that from fog drip and what fell as rain & snow.

[ Reference my numerous rime links on the right side of this webpage to learn more about this wondrous, visible extraction of cloud vapor from the air ].

January 14, 2012
High Knob Massif Crest Zone
Trees Extracting Moisture From Cloud Vapor
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

The now famous Cow Parsnip is an excellent rime former in the High Knob highcountry where it extracts moisture from passing clouds just like trees; although, in much less quantities.

Moisture To Drop Upon Snowpack
High Knob Massif - January 14, 2012
Cow Parsnip ( Heracleum maximum )
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

[ Cow Parsnip is very abundant in Alaska and is reportedly found in every Canadian Province except for its Nunavut Territory.  It also can grow down to sea level, but is clearly a plant with strong northern affinity that loves growing conditions in the massif ].

High Knob Massif
RIMED Trees In Low Light Conditions
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

If one can stand the bitter cold of moon lit nights, typically featuring stiff breezes along highcountry ridges, a special treat can be had as rime can nearly glow with reflected light.

January 15, 2012 at 4 PM
Above The Head of Powell Valley In Wise County, VA
Rime Capped Grindstone Ridge Dome - High Knob Massif
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

Like icing on a delicious cake, there is nothing quite like seeing rime capping the great mountain walls of the massif covered by snow to make its bold bands of calcareous cliffs stand out against sunlight at the end of a winter's day.

It truly is a major WOW!

January 15, 2012
Head of Big Cherry Basin ( Other Side of Crest )
Great Bands Of Calcareous Cliffs - Boldness Against Snow
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

[ The above section plunges 2000 vertical feet within only 0.8 air mile to represent one of the greatest short distance elevation changes west of the Blue Ridge in the Appalachians ].


For more mid-winter glory
reference this really snowy 
majesty from 2011:

Mid-Winter Majesty Of The 2010-11 Season


And this awesome beauty
from January 2010:

Winter Beauty of January 2010



Climatic Gradients Inside
The High Knob Landform

Morning of January 15, 2012
Powell Mountain Overlook Above Stickleyville
Crepuscular Rays And Majestic Stratocumulus
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

[ This lower section of Powell Mountain southwest of The Divide and High Knob Massif joins Wallen Ridge to form a ring around the Wallen Creek Basin in which Stickleyville rests.  Wallen Creek is the first known camp for Long Hunters established in the Powell River Valley by Elisha Wallen in 1761 ( reference "The Long Hunter," by Emory L. Hamilton in The Mountain Empire Genealogical Quarterly, Spring '84 ) ].

To the dismay of my friend Denver Garrett, weather observer & snow lover near The Cedars of Lee County, Va., there has only been 1.7" of snow so far this winter at his Jonesville 3.1 WSW station ( a little more than the 1.2" observed in the Tri-Cities ). 

Although 1.7" is less than 5% of the snows that have fallen in the crest zone of the High Knob Massif so far this season, it is not an aberration since last winter the Jonesville 3.1 WSW site got less than 2% of what fell atop the massif.
( totals were just MUCH greater in both places )

It is part of long-term climatic gradients which link diverse terrestrial & subterranean habitats together to form the epicenter for rarity and richness of limited range species in the continental USA.  

January 15, 2012
Lee County of The High Knob Landform
Beauty of Historic Powell River Valley Landscape
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

Even without snow there is also no denying the great beauty of this historic Powell River Valley landscape during winter!

January 15, 2012
Inside the Ancient Core of The High Knob Landform
Gords Decorate An Appalachian Frontier Style Cabin
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

Weathered logs of a frontier cabin are lined with mud to keep bitter winds at bay and to block cold air drainage which is a major feature of these karst valleys of the Upper Tennessee River Basin ( flowing from northeast to southwest on nights with down valley mountain wind formation throughout all seasons ).

Amid The Karstic Core Of The High Knob Landform
Wagon Hitch About Ready For Travel - January 15, 2012
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

Karst valleys of the Clinch & Powell basins offer winter refuge, even today, from the more harsh conditions of the highlands.

January 15, 2012
Classic International - A Later Means Of Travel
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

While karst valleys of the Clinch & Powell are wetter, snowier, and cooler in the mean than the Great Valley to their south they remain protected from conditions which are severe by comparison amid the High Knob Massif and upper reaches of Black, Pine, Cumberland, and Clinch mountains 
( as visually illustrated by this website ).

January 15, 2012
Majestic Colors Of Mid-Winter
Mossy Rocks & Free Flowing Water At Cumberland Gap
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

Rod Addington Photography

January 15, 2012
Reflections of Beauty Behind Glass
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.


More Mid-Winter Beauty
Of January 2012

January 2, 2012
Golden-crowned Kinglet ( Regulus satrapa ) In Hand!
Photograph by Wayne Riner - © All Rights Reserved.

Wayne Riner's Photograph Story...
"The snow had just started when this little bird hit the window.  It sat for a while as if to catch its breath after I had picked it up and held it. I kept my hand open to allow it to fly to the woods.  The Golden-crowned Kinglet was thoughtful enough to give me time for one picture."

Now that is a great story!

[ Golden-crowned and Ruby-crowned ( Regulus calendula ) kinglets are simply wonderful little birds that are always a pure joy to hear and watch ].

Awesome Sunrise of January 10, 2012
Deep Blue Morning - Long Ridge of Sandy Ridge
Photograph by Wayne Riner - © All Rights Reserved.

Wayne Riner Photograph Thoughts...
"The morning was warm ( for the season ) and clear as the light changed from midnight blue to the color of a golden day of sunshine."

The sunrise of January 10 was simply awesome as a gorgeous array of mountain wave clouds were highlighted in such beautiful colors of changing morning light.

Sunrise of January 10, 2012
Long Ridge of the Tennessee Valley Divide
Midnight Blue To Gold Of Rippling Mountain Waves
Photograph by Wayne Riner - © All Rights Reserved.

It seems as if there have been many gorgeous mornings since the end of December, as Genevie Riner and Roddy Addington also captured in this section of the website:


January 10, 2012
Looking to Birch Knob of Pine Mountain
Fog Between Ridges of The Russell Fork Basin
Photograph by Genevie Riner - © All Rights Reserved.

Genevie Riner shows what the morning view was like after sunrise, with fog between ridges of the Russell Fork Basin in looking to Pine Mountain and its highest peak in Dickenson County 
( Birch Knob, second from left, at 3149 feet above sea level ).

It would not be January without 
more snow pictures!

January 13, 2012
Along The Tennessee Valley Divide
Snowy Mountain Farms In The Highlands  
Photograph by Wayne Riner - © All Rights Reserved.

Wayne Riner Photograph Thoughts...
"It was the day after a light snow had covered the high ridges and the cows needed to be fed."

Feeding Time on January 13, 2012
Tufted Titmouse ( Parus bicolor )
Carolina Chickadee ( Parus carolinensis )
Photograph by Wayne Riner - © All Rights Reserved.

Winter means more chores need doing in the mountains as all creatures have only one thing on their minds...eating enough to survive until spring truly arrives!

January 14, 2012
Looking west from the City of Norton
Eastern Slopes of Big Black Mountain ( VA-KY border )
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

[ The FAA Radar Dome can be seen upon the highest peak of Big Black Mountain in this view looking west from Norton ].

January 3, 2012
The United States of America
Beauty of Big Trees - Wise County, Virginia
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

If left alone in select, wet places trees will again grow to huge sizes to give children and everyone a glimpse of what the greatest forest upon the entire North American continent was once like! 

January 2, 2012
The Wettest Area In Virginia
Highcountry of The High Knob Massif
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

A special thanks to all photographers
for a great mid-winter update!

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