Thursday, February 23, 2012

High Impact Snowfall - February 19, 2012


February 20, 2012
Along The Tennessee Valley Divide
Winter Beauty In The Southern Appalachians
Photograph by Wayne Riner - © All Rights Reserved.



A high impact fall of wet, heavy snow buried the High Knob Massif and Tennessee Valley Divide during February 19 with 6" to 16"+ of depth.

Elevation 2650 feet
Morning of February 20, 2012
Snow Laden In The Highlands - Riner Homestead
Photograph by Wayne Riner - © All Rights Reserved.

The wondrous majesty of this snow, like that of the December 2009 Mega-Disaster Storm and the January 1998 Epic Snowfall, could not be denied despite its significant impacts!

MEGA-Disaster Snowstorm of December 2009

February 20, 2012
Framed By A Snowy Hollow In The Highlands
Photograph by Wayne Riner - © All Rights Reserved.

These beautiful scenes also tell a story upon looking outward across the snowy highlands with heaviest sticking on trees being noted well beneath mountain ridges amid hollows sheltered from wind.

February 20, 2012
Along The Tennessee Valley Divide
First Rays Of Sunshine Illuminate Snowy Mountains
Photograph by Wayne Riner - © All Rights Reserved.

Tens of thousands lost electricity across southwestern Virginia, with 56% of Dickenson County ( for example ) homes and businesses sitting in darkness at the peak of this event.

In The Wake Of High Density Snow
Photograph by Wayne Riner - © All Rights Reserved.

February 19, 2012
The Angry Chickadee ( With Little Beady Eyes )
Photograph by Wayne Riner - © All Rights Reserved.

Wayne Riner Thoughts...
"The chickadee could possibly be aggravated 
about being interrupted while eating."

Actually, I think it's MAD 
about ALL THIS SNOW!

Just LOOK At MY HOUSE!!!
Photograph by Wayne Riner - © All Rights Reserved.


The Storm Event
of February 19, 2012

February 20, 2012
A Foot Of Snow In High Chaparral of High Knob Massif
Photograph by Darlene Fields - © All Rights Reserved.

The High Knob Landform

The deepest snow in the entire southern-central Appalachians fell upon the High Knob Massif during this event, with 12" to 16"+ of snow depth 
in upper elevations ( above 3000 feet ) being enhanced by a orographically forced & anchored Thermally Indirect Mesoscale Circulation during the period of easterly air flow trajectories ( * ).

*First identified and documented by Wayne Browning 
in wake of the Epic Snow Blitz of January 1998.

[ The Epic Snowfall of January 27-28, 1998 unofficially set a new Virginia 24-hour snowfall record when 36" to 40"+ of snow depth buried the High Chaparral to Big Cherry Basin corridor of the High Knob Massif within only 21 hours ].

This storm was a northward tracking variant of a Miller A Cyclone, as illustrated by consecutively clicking on the NAM Model charts below of its initialization states ( i.e., an inland variant ).


State of The Atmosphere
February 18-20, 2012

NAM Model Initialization - 7 AM February 18, 2012

NAM Model Initialization - 7 PM February 18, 2012

NAM Model Initialization - 7 AM February 19, 2012

NAM Model Initialization - 7 PM February 19, 2012

NAM Model Initialization - 7 AM February 20, 2012
All Graphics Courtesy of Unisys Weather Processor

Unseasonably mild conditions February 18 masked the fact that a deep fall of snow was about to occur, with the atmosphere at the onset being only marginally cold enough to support snow at the summit level of the High Knob Massif ( * ).

*An initial 0.04" of water was released by an automated tipping bucket rain gage on Eagle Knob of the High Knob Massif, with the remainder being all snow ( at 4189 feet ).

Meanwhile, 0.35" of rain was released by an automated tipping bucket rain gage at Big Cherry Dam of the High Knob Massif to suggest that around 3.0" less snow initially accumulated at the 3120 foot level before a complete change to snow.

Storm total water equivalents were in the range of 1.50" to 2.00" with 1.52" being measured on the base of High Knob at the Norton Water Plant and 1.55" being measured at the Big Stone Gap Water Plant located amid the mouth of South Fork Gorge draining Big Cherry Basin ( these were the greatest precipitation totals reported in the entire region during this event ).

Elevation 3300 feet
Morning of February 20, 2012
Snow Laden In High Chaparral of High Knob Massif
Photograph by Darlene Fields - © All Rights Reserved.


Orographically Forced-Anchored
Thermally Indirect Mesoscale Circulation
( Unique High Knob Massif Circulation )

TIM Circulation WebCite Permalink ( 022312 )

Doppler Radar Images
Historical Examples

Although the gradient and orographic forcing was not as strong in this event, it displayed the same type of Doppler radar signature as previously documented during this unique High Knob Massif driven circulation in February 2005 and December 2009 ( to note a couple of previous cases ).

JKL Doppler Base Reflectivity - 2:48 AM February 28, 2005

A bright band of high reflectivity echoes on the Wise County side of the massif is associated with formation of a rain-snow melting zone as a portion of easterly air flowing upslope for 10-15+ air miles across the massif plunges over its northwest wall and "warmer" side of the rain-snow boundary to sink 2500-2800 vertical feet toward the floor of Powell Valley ( from Norton into northeastern Lee County ).

[ The February 2005 event was associated with 10-18" of snow depth in the High Knob Massif verses mostly all rain upon the floor of Powell Valley.  A rain gage total of 1.72" was measured at the base of High Knob in the City of Norton where 4-5" of wet snow accumulated at Norton WP ( the greatest precipitation amounts reported in the entire region during this portion of the event / NW flow snow fell during March 1-2 to generate 18-24"+ totals above 3300 feet ) ].

JKL Doppler Base Reflectivity - 7:19 PM December 18, 2009

The same type of bright banding was also observed over this same area during the easterly air flow period of the December 18, 2009 Mega-Disaster storm, with notable backbuilding of echoes along the crest zone and NW mountain wall of the massif.

[ The December 2009 event was associated with 2-3+ FEET of snow depth across the High Knob Massif and as little as 2" near the Powell River in Big Stone Gap.  A total of 2.85" was measured in their Water Plant rain gage amid South Fork Gorge ( these were the greatest precipitation totals reported in the entire region during this major event with 24-34" depths measured in the 3000-3250 foot zone / more above 3300 feet ) ].


Doppler Radar Images
February 19, 2012

JKL Doppler Base Reflectivity - 12:13 PM February 19, 2012

JKL Doppler Base Reflectivity - 12:26 PM February 19, 2012

JKL Doppler Base Reflectivity - 12:30 PM February 19, 2012

JKL Doppler Base Reflectivity - 1:12 PM February 19, 2012

JKL Doppler Base Reflectivity - 1:21 PM February 19, 2012

Note the same type of bright banding, as observed in historical cases, on selected images above during a portion of this easterly air flow period across the High Knob Massif ( * ).

*The significance being that a rain-snow melting zone has formed in the same location in every case cited, with rising air on the cold side of the melting zone being coincident with upsloping on easterly air flow rising up the High Knob Massif from the east to enhance upward vertical motion with its cooling & condensation to reinforce this Thermally Indirect Mesoscale Circulation ( cold air rising - warm air sinking ) that is itself a product of orographic forcing and anchoring in place by the massif.

As easterly air flowing across the massif dissipated with a shift in synoptic winds from ESE-ENE to N at 850 MB, during the 1430-1500 hour period, the rain-snow boundary also dissipated and the circulation ended with rain changing to snow in Powell Valley.

Doppler indicated the change in conditions with weakening of its bright banding signature as a complete transition from rain to snow occurred in Powell Valley of Wise County by 1500 hours.

JKL Doppler Base Reflectivity - 2:34 PM February 19, 2012

JKL Doppler Base Reflectivity - 2:47 PM February 19, 2012

Cold air typically sinks & warm air rises in the atmosphere.  That the massif and rain-snow boundary work together to force the opposite to occur makes this a Thermally Indirect circulation which is Meso, or small, in scale ( * ).

*Rain-snow boundaries are relatively common in the atmosphere but orographically forced and anchored ones are rare.  This has predictive nature as anyone getting my climate newsletter can testify, as I correctly forecasted a mesoscale snow depth spread of from 2-4" in Powell Valley to 12"+ across the High Knob Massif before this event occurred ( the same being true of the December 2009 episode with its HUGE snow depth gradient ).


Eagle Knob of High Knob Massif
Time Series of Snow Accumulation
February 19, 2012

Snow developed on Eagle Knob around 9 AM with a little mix of rain-snow before a change to all snow ( 0.04" accumulated in an automated tipping bucket rain gage as rain or a rain-snow mixture ).

( Reference Shot For Comparison )
Eagle Knob of High Knob Massif - 9:52 AM February 8

[ I was on Eagle Knob during February 8 and include a reference image for comparison with those that follow from February 19 ].

Eagle Knob of High Knob Massif - 11:49 AM
Image by Steve Blankenbecler - © All Rights Reserved.

Visibility was completely obscured to the east and southeast facing into prevailing easterly air flowing across the massif, with these views facing southwest.  Around 3" of snow accumulated by mid-day at this elevation of 4189 feet above mean sea level.

Eagle Knob of High Knob Massif - 12:38 PM
Image by Steve Blankenbecler - © All Rights Reserved.

Eagle Knob of High Knob Massif - 1:04 PM
Image by Steve Blankenbecler - © All Rights Reserved.

Eagle Knob of High Knob Massif - 2:04 PM
Image by Steve Blankenbecler - © All Rights Reserved.

Approximately 50% of the total storm depth had accumulated on easterly air flow by the time of synoptic-scale wind shift to the NE & N at 850 MB and on Eagle Knob ( 3 PM and after ).

[ Without enhancement from this circulation snow depths would have been in the 6-10" range from High Chaparral to Eagle Knob instead of 12-16"+ ].

Eagle Knob of High Knob Massif - 3:46 PM
Image by Steve Blankenbecler - © All Rights Reserved.

Eagle Knob of High Knob Massif - 5:46 PM
Image by Steve Blankenbecler - © All Rights Reserved.

A general 4" to 5"+ of additional snow depth was measured after this final image above as snowfall continued until between 11 PM and Midnight on February 19.

( 8 Hours After Accumulating Snow Stopped )
High Chaparral Snow Depth At 7:35 AM - February 20
Photograph by Darlene Fields - © All Rights Reserved.

Joe & Darlene Fields measured a mean snow depth of 12" at their High Chaparral home some 
8 hours after accumulating snowfall had ended 
( storm total 12.5" at 3300 feet ).

Deep Snow Remained On February 21, 2012
Eagle Knob of High Knob Massif - 10:33 AM
Image by Steve Blankenbecler - © All Rights Reserved.

On Eagle Knob of the High Knob Massif, which got a 2" head start on High Chaparral, the storm total reached 16"+ with a general 1 to 2 feet of depth along the crest ( local drifts of 3 to 4+ feet ).

It should now be understood that IF this circulation on easterly air flow trajectories should persist for a couple days or more there would be potential for historic, truly excessive snow depths across upper elevations of the High Knob Massif.

[ While most snowstorm episodes are composed of snow falling on varying wind trajectories, this thermally indirect circulation that is orographically forced & anchored has significantly increased snowfall totals and snow depths in every case documented since January 1998 ( and undoubtedly before it was recognized ) ]. 


The Rapid Change 
From Rain To Heavy Snow

February 19, 2012 - Elevation 3300 feet
All Snow In High Chaparral At 10:36 AM
Photograph by Darlene Fields - © All Rights Reserved.

A common theme in most places impacted by the February 19 event was a rapid transition from rain to heavy, wet snow.  Only in highest elevations of the High Knob Massif ( above 3600 feet ) was snow the main precipitation type at onset time.

High Knob Massif
February 19, 2012 at 10:50 AM
Snow Begins Accumulating In High Chaparral
Photograph by Darlene Fields - © All Rights Reserved.

This was a situation where snow levels dropped over time from upper into middle and lower elevations.

Elevation 3300 feet
February 19, 2012 at 12:32 PM
High Chaparral of High Knob Massif
Photograph by Darlene Fields - © All Rights Reserved.

Much more snow had accumulated within the main crest zone of the High Knob Massif by 12:30 PM, as illustrated by Eagle Knob depths where sticking snow started after 9 AM.

[ High Chaparral is 923 vertical feet lower in elevation than the peak of the High Knob Massif some 4 air miles to its west ( on High Knob ) ].

Dropping another 800 to 900 vertical feet rain had not yet changed to snow in Wise at 12:30 PM, but was on the CUSP and poised to in only a few more minutes!


University of Virginia's College In Wise
Time Series of Snow Accumulation
February 19, 2012

UVA In Wise at 11:50 AM

Measured Elevation Points In Wise
Wise Courthouse Benchmark: 2454 feet
Wise 3 E NWS Cooperative: 2549 feet
Wise 1 SE ( UVA Campus ): 2560 feet
Lonesome Pine Airport ( LNP ): 2684 feet

UVA In Wise at 12:29 PM

Snow began to rapidly stick in Wise 
between 12:30 and 12:50 PM.

UVA In Wise at 12:51 PM

UVA In Wise at 1:05 PM

UVA In Wise at 2:36 PM

UVA In Wise at 3:48 PM

UVA In Wise at 4:28 PM

Playing some football
in the snow!

UVA In Wise at 6:09 PM

UVA In Wise at 6:12 PM

High resolution shots from photographers reveal the truly dramatic nature of this transitional period.

February 19, 2012
The Change In Wise - Rapid Sticking Begins
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

Numerous traffic problems developed 
as this was a very slick snow.

February 19, 2012 at 2:30 PM
Heavy Snow & Rapid Sticking In Wise
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

Wayne Riner captured the nature of the change on Long Ridge which lies east of the Wise Plateau along a connecting section of the Tennessee Valley Divide known as Sandy Ridge.

February 19, 2012 at 12:45 PM
Long Ridge of Sandy Ridge of Tennessee Valley Divide
Giant Snowflakes Mark Rapid Change From Rain to Snow
Photograph by Wayne Riner - © All Rights Reserved.

Snow density began high with a 5:1 snow to water ratio being observed at Clintwood 1 W on the first 1.5" that accumulated ( 1.5" = 0.29" of water content ).

[ The final 1" of snow during the event in Clintwood had a snow density of 25:1 but by that time the damage had already been done with broken trees, limbs, and power lines ( the event snow density was 8:1 at the elevation of Clintwood 1 W ) ].

February 19, 2012 at 12:45 PM
Giant Snowflakes Form Clumps Of Snow
Photograph by Wayne Riner - © All Rights Reserved.

Snow densities were high at all locations to start but decreased rapidly in higher elevations above 2500 to 3000 feet amid cold air advection, with event densities trending toward 10:1 to 12:1 in the higher terrain above 2500 feet.

[ Snow depths were deepest at higher elevations due partly to lower snow density and a longer duration of snowfall, especially in upper elevations of the sprawling High Knob Massif ].

February 19, 2012 at 12:46 PM
Snowflakes Aggregate Into Clumps Of Snow At Start
Photograph by Wayne Riner - © All Rights Reserved.

A nearly isothermal vertical layer with air temperatures near 32 degrees at the change point allowed individual snowflakes to join with other flakes to create large clumps of snow up to 2-3"+ 
in diameter.

[ Snowflakes falling in such layers can partially melt and become very sticky such that collisions with other flakes falling at different rates of speed or blown about by turbulent air motions can create multi-layered flakes as captured by Wayne Riner in this beautifully detailed photograph below ].

February 19, 2012 at 12:47 PM
Awesome Photograph Of Snowflakes Joined In Layers
Photograph by Wayne Riner - © All Rights Reserved.

Snow densities below 2500 feet did not decrease as rapidly with air temperatures holding near freezing for a prolonged period of time in mountain hollows amid the 1400 to 2000 foot elevation zone, thus the most widespread power outages were locally found at elevations below 2500 feet ( where wind speeds were also less ).

[ The first pops & cracks of breaking tree limbs were both heard and observed at Clintwood 1 W when snow depths reached 4" by 4:50 PM on February 19.  A snow core taken at that time revealed a 7:1 density on the accumulated snow at just under 1600 feet elevation ].


Lost In Snow & Fog
Snowstorm In The Highlands
by photographer Wayne Riner

This next section is presented to all those who in this so-called "year without a winter" may have forgotten what it truly is like to be amid a real, honest to goodness snowstorm!

[ Mainly for friends in the Tri-Cities and other places in the world where little to no snow has accumulated so far during this 2011-12 winter season ].

Nora 4 SSE on Long Ridge
February 19, 2012 at 1:03 PM
Northern Cardinal Braves Storm
Photograph by Wayne Riner - © All Rights Reserved.

Season to date snowfall totals 
by local elevation zones include:
( as of February 20, 2012 )

Clintwood Area: 20" to 30"

Norton-Wise & Long Ridge: 30" to 40"

High Chaparral Zone: 40" to 50"

High Knob Massif Crest Zone: 60" to 70"

Majestic Beauty - February 19, 2012 at 1:04 PM
Photograph by Wayne Riner - © All Rights Reserved.

Dark Like Night - February 19, 2012 at 1:13 PM
Photograph by Wayne Riner - © All Rights Reserved.

Visibility became reduced to feet at times in the highlands as snow, fog, and low cloud bases combined amid this furious storm event!

February 19, 2012
Low Visibility In Fury Of Flakes
Photograph by Wayne Riner - © All Rights Reserved.

February 19, 2012
A Snowstorm Settles Into The Highlands
Photograph by Wayne Riner - © All Rights Reserved.

February 19, 2012 at 1:15 PM
Only The Beginning - Heavy Snow Accumulates Fast
Photograph by Wayne Riner - © All Rights Reserved.



Specific Storm Statistics
For February 19-20, 2012

February 20, 2012
Born In A Snowstorm - B.B. Has A New Calf
Photograph by Wayne Riner - © All Rights Reserved.

Wayne Riner Thoughts...
"The calf is less than a day old and was born yesterday during this snow and ice storm.  B.B. is 
a good mother and takes all due care."


Total Precipitation / Snowfall Total
( only snow depths where rain gage total is not available )

February 19, 2012 at 3:30 PM
Robinson Knob of High Knob Massif
Photograph by Otis Ward - © All Rights Reserved.

Regional Locations
( In Virginia Unless Noted )

Galax WTP: 0.32" / 3.0"

Danville: 0.45" / 3.0"

Radford 3 N: 0.51" / 5.0"

Marion 4.4 WSW: 0.55" / 4.8"

Meadows of Dan 5 SW: 0.57" / 2.5"

( Blountville, Tennessee )
Tri-Cities ( TN ): 0.59" / Trace

Grayson Highlands State Park: 6" to 8"
( Harvey Thompson of DCR )

Trout Dale 3 SSE: 0.64" / 6.0"

Roanoke: 0.65" / 5.5"

Pulaski 2 E: 0.67" / 6.9"

Lynchburg: 0.68" / 7.7"

Independence 1.3 S: 0.70" / 6.0"

Woolwine: 0.73" / 5.0"

February 19, 2012 at 3:30 PM
Robinson Knob of High Knob Massif
Photograph by Otis Ward - © All Rights Reserved.

Bluefield ( WV ): 0.74" / 6.9"

Abingdon 3 S: 0.78" / 2.0"

Jonesville 3.1 WSW: 0.82" / 0.5"

Burkes Garden: 0.83" / 7.0"

Christiansburg: 0.83" / 8.0"

Blacksburg: 0.85" / 6.9"

( McGhee Tyson Airport )
Knoxville ( TN ): 0.86" / 0.0"

( Elevation 1284 feet )
Kingsport ( TN ): 0.92" / 0.0"

Copper Hill: 0.93" / 8.0"

Skyline 1 SE ( KY ): 0.94" / 5.0"

Wytheville 1 S: 0.98" / 5.0"

Whitesburg ( KY ): 1.02" / 4.5"

Richlands: 1.03" / 3.0"

Grundy: 1.05" / 1.9"

February 19, 2012 at 3:30 PM
Robinson Knob of High Knob Massif
Photograph by Otis Ward - © All Rights Reserved.

Kingdom Come State Park ( KY ): 1.18" / 10.3"

Nora 4 SSE: 1.22" / 8.2"

Saltville 1 N: 1.23" / 1.1"

Appalachia Lake Water Plant: 1.24" / 5.0"

Whitesburg 2 SE ( KY ): 1.24" / 6.5"

Lebanon: 1.31" / 3.0"

Clintwood 1 W: 1.32" / 7.0"

Town of Wise: 8" to 10"

Norton Water Plant: 1.52" / 9.0"

Big Stone Gap Water Plant: 1.55" / 4.0"

High Chaparral of High Knob Massif: 12.5"
( 1.54" of water in Robinson Knob )

Eagle Knob of High Knob Massif: 16.0"+

Elevation 3240 feet
February 19, 2012 at 3:30 PM
Robinson Knob of High Knob Massif
Photograph by Otis Ward - © All Rights Reserved.

This storm event pushed February 2012 snowfall totals to 20-30" across upper elevations of the High Knob Massif ( above 3000 feet ).

Reference this section of my website for photographs 
and information on the NW Flow dominated upslope event 
of February 11-12, 2012 in the High Knob Massif area:




Majesty In The Town Of Wise
by photographer Roddy Addington
( Evening of February 19, 2012 )

My friend & photographer Roddy Addington 
offers everyone this glorious February treat!


Magical Beauty Of Deep Snow & Lights
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

Rod Addington Photography

Heavy Evening Snow Falls Upon Downtown Wise
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

Snowstorm Creates Quietness In Town
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

Awesome Beauty Amid A
Destructive Storm Event

Its Not Christmas - But Is Still Beautiful
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

Wondrous Mix Of Snow & Light In Historic Wise
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

Snowstorm of February 19, 2012
A Postcard View From Wise To You
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

What a way to end this storm history!

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( Updated: February 28, 2012 )
Official Governmental Disgrace

December 2009 - Volume 51 - Number 12
Official NOAA Storm Data Publication
For The December 18-19, 2009 Snowstorm

I was not really shocked to see the local mountains left out of yet another important storm history that is supposed to be the official national record of the USA.

[ Wise, Scott, and the higher elevations of Lee County are shown to have had only 3-6" of snow during the great MEGA-Disaster Snow Dump of December 2009 ].

My Documentation Of The Event
With MANY Photographs:

The official submitted text report was not much better, missing the true impact of this major event:

Storm Data Publication
DECEMBER 2009
VOLUME 51
NUMBER 12

VAZ001-005>006-008
Lee - Russell - Scott - Washington - Wise
December 18 1900EST to December 19 0600EST
0 0 871.0K 0.00K Heavy Snow
"An area of low pressure tracked into the region from the south combined with cold air resulting in heavy snow across the area.

This heavy snow event was the largest snowfall that has occurred across southwest Virginia since 1996. The heaviest snow fell over the higher elevations where 12-18 inches was reported. The valley locations received values ranging from 8 to 12 inches of snow."


[ NOT A WORD about power outages, damages, stranded vehicles and blocked roads such that the official history of this event read by people years from now will never reveal how severe it was upon Wise County and the parts of other counties impacted ].

The submitted report and graphic do not correlate but worse they are both wrong, as reading through my documentation reveals by seeing the huge snow depth and damage in actual pictures as well as the extreme variations between Big Stone Gap, western Lee County and the High Knob Massif.

It was also WRONG about December 2009 being the largest snow since January 1996.

So I wondered what did this official Storm Data print on the great January 1998 Epic Snowstorm that "unofficially" broke the all-time 24-hour snowfall record in Virginia ( it may be unofficial but it happened, and I reported when and where it occurred ).

Storm Data Publication
JANUARY 1998
VOLUME 39
NUMBER 1

VIRGINIA, Extreme Southwest
Winter Storm

January 27 1930EST to
January 28 1130EST

VAZ001>002-005>006-008
Lee - Wise - Scott - Russell - Washington
"Heavy snow fell throughout southwest Virginia. Snowfall totals ranged from as little as 3-4 inches in the western part of Lee county to 2 feet in the high mountain elevations of Wise and Russell counties. The average was 10-18 inches."

Only off by 1-2 feet in Wise County.

I guess this report was "close enough for government work."


Here are snow depths I collected during the event.

January 27-28, 1998
Snow Depth Reports
Dickenson & Wise Counties

1945 feet
Head of Powell Valley: 3"
( Addison & Elizabeth Stallard )

1560 feet
Clintwood 1 W:  8"
( Wayne Browning )

1675 feet
Birchleaf 1 SW: 9"
( Jonathan Owens )

1893 feet
Breaks Interstate Park: 17"
( Carl Mullins & Staff )

1900 feet
Honeycamp: 18"
( Clintwood Sheriff's Office )

2549 feet
Wise 3 E: 18"
( Roy L. Wells, Jr. )

2450 feet
Flatwoods of High Knob Massif: 20"
( Janet Couch )

2400 feet
Caney Ridge: 24"
( Peggy Johnson )

4077 feet
Black Mountain ( KY ) FAA: 26"+
( Brian Brooks )

2600 feet
Flat Top of Sandy Ridge: 24-26"+
( Terry Peters )

2700 feet
Brushy Ridge: 26-28"
( David Paul Wright )

2800 feet
Herald of Sandy Ridge: 25-28"
( Jason Sizemore )

2300 feet
Nealy Ridge: 29"
( Rick Dotson )

2750 feet
Fat Gap of High Knob Massif: 30"
( Jo & Johnny Combs )

3025 feet
Carrie of Sandy Ridge: 32"
( Jess Rasnick )

2800 feet
Cherry Knob of Sandy Ridge: 36"
( J.R. Robinson )

3300 feet
*High Chaparral of High Knob Massif: 36"
( Joe & Darlene Fields )

4189 feet
**Eagle Knob of High Knob Massif: 40"+
( Dennis Salyer )

*Joe & Darlene Fields reported 2-4 feet of snow depth in High Chaparral, with a mean depth taken to be 36" ( this correlated well with a 30" snow depth measured by Jo Combs in Flat Gap of the High Knob Massif at 2750 feet ).

**High Knob Massif crest zone depths were not measured until afternoon hours of January 30 when Dennis Salyer tried to get a snowmobile into Eagle Knob from the City of Norton.

[ Dennis Salyer was an electrical engineer for Blue Ridge Public Television at the time and was trying to reach the WSBN Channel 47 Transmitter on Eagle Knob to get the PBS station back on-air.

The snowmobile became stuck in large drifts, 4-5 feet deep, in the gap between the peaks of High Knob and Eagle Knob.  Dennis had to wade snow the remainder of the way to the transmitter site.  He measured snow depths of 22-36" ( afternoon of January 30 ) at the transmitter station ].

The significance of Eagle Knob snow depths is that by early on January 31 a general 18"+ of settlement had occurred on the snow across sites hit hardest from southwest Virginia into southern West Virginia ( implying depths had been much greater on Eagle Knob a couple days before ).

[ The above being supported by a 2.81" rain gage total in the Head of Powell Valley some 2278 vertical feet lower in elevation than the summit level of the High Knob Massif.

All precipitation fell as snow across the massif, above 3000 feet elevation, while only 3" accumulated in Powell Valley on a Thermally Indirect Mesoscale Circulation which operated during the bulk of this event ].