Sunday, March 18, 2012

Wetness In The High Knob Landform


March 5, 2012 at 9:53 AM
Heavy Snow In High Chaparral of High Knob Massif
Photograph by Darlene Fields - © All Rights Reserved.


With record warmth now possible it is almost hard to believe that snow was on the ground less than two weeks ago!

Elevation 3300 feet
Blanket of Snow In High Chaparral - March 5, 2012
Photograph by Darlene Fields - © All Rights Reserved. 

A general 3" to 5" of snow depth covered the mountain landscape from the town of Wise and Tennessee Valley Divide into the City of Norton and High Knob Massif in wake of severe storms with drenching rains on March 2.


March 5, 2012
Measuring Snow In The High Knob Highcountry
Photograph by Darlene Fields - © All Rights Reserved.  

Although way less than the past several winters, this fall of snow pushed 2011-12 seasonal totals into the range of 3 to 6 feet from the town of Wise and City of Norton into the main crest zone of the High Knob Massif ( 38.9" at the Norton Water Plant ).

[ The 6 feet of snowfall for 2011-12 to date being amid highest elevations in the High Knob Massif where snow depths of 1" or more were on the ground for 48 days in lofty High Knob Lake Basin ( across northern slopes above 3400 feet ) ].

January-February 2012 were the snowiest with a general 30-50" of snowfall above 3000 feet in the High Knob Massif.

Specific Seasonal Snowfall Totals
( October 1, 2011 to March 6, 2012 )

Elevation 1560 feet
Clintwood 1 W: 25.9"

Elevation 2650 feet
Nora 4 SSE: 35.8"

Elevation 2549 feet
Wise 3 E: 36.4"

Elevation 2342 feet
Norton Water Plant: 38.9"

Elevation 3200-3300 feet
High Chaparral-Robinson Knob: 45-50"

Elevation 4189 feet
*Eagle Knob of High Knob Massif: 71.0"

*Max winter depths reached 1-2 feet, with 3-5 foot drifts, above 3000 feet in the High Knob Massif during the February 19, 2012 winter storm.


Saskatchewan Screamer
Slide Show of Conditions
In Wise During March 4-6, 2012

11:59 PM - March 4, 2012
University of Virginia's College In Wise

12:51 AM - March 5, 2012
University of Virginia's College In Wise 

2:43 AM - March 5, 2012
University of Virginia's College In Wise 

The main snowband associated with this fast moving clipper system actually passed well north of southwestern Virginia, with snow depths locally arising mostly due to NW upslope flow ( again shutting out the Tri-Cities to Knoxville corridor of the Great Valley where 2011-12 winter snowfall totals have to date only reached 0.1" to 1.2" ).

8:50 AM - March 5, 2012
University of Virginia's College In Wise 

9:51 AM - March 5, 2012
University of Virginia's College In Wise 

10:07 AM - March 5, 2012
University of Virginia's College In Wise 

10:14 AM - March 5, 2012
University of Virginia's College In Wise 

10:26 AM - March 5, 2012
University of Virginia's College In Wise 

11:23 AM - March 5, 2012
University of Virginia's College In Wise 

12:11 PM - March 5, 2012
University of Virginia's College In Wise 

12:27 PM - March 5, 2012
University of Virginia's College In Wise 

12:37 PM - March 5, 2012
University of Virginia's College In Wise 

12:43 PM - March 5, 2012
University of Virginia's College In Wise 

12:56 PM - March 5, 2012
University of Virginia's College In Wise 

1:19 PM - March 5, 2012
University of Virginia's College In Wise 

12:46 AM - March 6, 2012
University of Virginia's College In Wise 

[ Low pressure troughs forming lee of the Canadian Rockies often give birth to clipper systems during winter which race southeast into the Appalachians and Great Lakes.  Sometimes these systems do not fully develop until they get into Saskatchewan Province, instead of Alberta, and are called "Saskatchewan Screamers" ].


Dawn of Spring 2012
Wet Times In High Knob Landform

March 3, 2012 at 9:15 AM
Long Ridge of the Tennessee Valley Divide
Easter Daffodils Bloom Early During 2012
Photograph by Wayne Riner - © All Rights Reserved. 

Wayne Riner Thoughts...
"After all they are just plain daffodils, but these are located in a ditch beside the road near an old home place where my grandmother was born and raised.  Some plain things are special."

And we thank Wayne for sharing!

Meteorological Spring 2012 has started very wet with a general 6.00" to 8.00"+ of precipitation having already fallen across the High Knob Massif area in March, with Andrew Greear reporting 7.08" in the City of Norton's official rain gage at Norton Water Plant during March 1-18 ( 16.96" in 2012 ).

City of Norton
March 1-18: 6.63"
Total Past 29-days: 10.39"
( February 19-March 18 )

This follows a wet 12-month period with a general 80.00" to 90.00" in the High Knob Massif area during March 2011-February 2012.

12-Month Precipitation Totals
March 2011 to February 2012
( Totals do not include March 2012 )

City of Norton: 80.39"
( Northern base of High Knob Massif )

Big Cherry Dam: 81.82" ( M )
( 6.5 air miles SSW of Norton in High Knob Massif )

Robinson Knob: 84.76" ( M )
( 5.5 air miles SE of Norton in High Knob Massif )

( M ) - Indicates missing moisture in evaporation between hand-measurements and physical gage losses in snowfall ( especially at Big Cherry Dam ).  Around 0.80" of water content was lost at Big Cherry Dam during the February 19 snow alone, which over-filled the rain gage ( 4"-diameter NWS type ).


March 5, 2012 at 8:12 AM
Long Ridge of the Tennessee Valley Divide
Visibility Fades In Snow & Blowing Snow
Photograph by Wayne Riner - © All Rights Reserved.


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

2011
March: 9.85"
April: 10.08"
May: 5.38"
June: 6.16"
July: 7.18"
August: 4.94"
September: 7.28"
October: 5.05"
November: 8.67"
December: 6.62"

2012
January: 4.70"
February: 5.91"

2011 Total: 80.25" ( M )

Recent 12-Month Total: 81.82" ( M )
( Does not include March 2012 )

40-Month Total: 250.65" ( M )

40-Month Mean Monthly Precip: 6.27"

Mean Per 12-Month Periods: 75.24" ( M )

( M ) - Indicates missing moisture in evaporation between hand-measurements and physical gage loss in snow with approximately 3.50" of estimated rain gage loss per year ( for example, around 0.80" of loss in snowfall during February 19, 2012 alone ).

The 6.27" monthly mean for 40 consecutive months is the greatest ever observed in Virginia, despite missing data, over such a long period of time ( 6.56" per month when including estimated rain gage losses on evaporation & snow overflow ).

*Note the use of the term "long period of time" is relative since even a standard 30-year data period is but a flicker in the BIG picture.  While data recording in the High Knob Massif area only started in the 1980s, these trends fit the geomorphology of the High Knob Landform and biodiversity that is being documented across this landscape ( terrestrial & subterranean ).

[ Big Cherry Dam is located 8.0 air miles WSW of Robinson Knob in the main crest zone of the High Knob Massif ( the communities of High Chaparral & Robinson Knob rest at the eastern base of the main crest zone near the Wise-Scott border in Wise County, VA ) ].

March 5, 2012 at 8:09 AM
Long Ridge of the Tennessee Valley Divide
Accumulating In the Lee - Wind Driven Snow
Photograph by Wayne Riner - © All Rights Reserved. 


Robinson Knob of High Knob Massif
Monthly Precipitation Totals
Elevation 3240 feet
( Observers: Otis & Nancy Ward )

2011
March 9.87"
April: 8.58"
May: 4.49"
June: 6.48"
July: 12.25"
August: 4.21"
September: 7.96"
October: 4.99"
November: 10.38"
December: 5.40"

2012
January: 4.19"
February: 5.96"

2011 Total: 81.14" ( M )

Recent 12-Month Total: 84.76" ( M )
( Does not include March 2012 )

While this pattern has been recently wet, it is longer term wetness of the High Knob Massif area that is rewriting the known climatology of Virginia.




Meteorological Winter
Climate Statistics For 2011-12
( December 2011 to February 2012 )

February 12, 2012
Snow Drifts In High Knob Massif Crest Zone
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

The following will recap the meteorological winter season from December 2011 through February 2012.


December 2011

Camp Bethel In Wise - Evening of December 7, 2011
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved. 

( Russell Fork Basin )
Clintwood 1 W – Elevation 1560 feet
Average Daily MAX: 49.9 degrees
Average Daily MIN: 27.9 degrees
MEAN: 38.9 degrees
Highest Temperature: 66 degrees
Lowest Temperature: 16 degrees
Total Precipitation: 4.17"
Total Snowfall: 1.2"

( Northern base High Knob Massif )
City of Norton – Elevation 2141 feet
Average Daily MAX: 47.1 degrees
Average Daily MIN: 25.8 degrees
MEAN: 36.4 degrees
Highest Temperature: 62 degrees
Lowest Temperature: 13 degrees
Total Precipitation: 5.63"
Total Snowfall: 4.5"

( Long Ridge of Sandy Ridge )
Nora 4 SSE – Elevation 2650 feet
Average Daily MAX: 46.0 degrees
Average Daily MIN: 31.4 degrees
MEAN: 38.7 degrees
Highest Temperature: 61 degrees
Lowest Temperature: 19 degrees
Total Precipitation: 4.39"
Total Snowfall: 6.2"

( Northern Edge of The Cedars )
Jonesville 3.1 WSW - Elevation 1422 feet
Average Daily MAX: 52.6 degrees
Average Daily MIN: 29.6 degrees
MEAN: 41.1 degrees
Highest Temperature: 68 degrees
Lowest Temperature: 14 degrees
Total Precipitation: 4.77"
Total Snowfall: Trace


January 2012

January 2, 2012 
Deepening Between Whiteouts - High Knob Massif
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

Clintwood 1 W - Elevation 1560 feet
Average Daily MAX: 46.8 degrees
Average Daily MIN: 23.9 degrees
MEAN: 35.4 degrees
Highest Temperature: 62 degrees
Lowest Temperature: 8 degrees
Total Precipitation: 2.63"
Total Snowfall: 10.1"
Days of 1" or more depth: 8

City of Norton - Elevation 2141 feet
Average Daily MAX: 43.4 degrees
Average Daily MIN: 22.4 degrees
MEAN: 32.9 degrees
Highest Temperature: 59 degrees
Lowest Temperature: 7 degrees
Total Precipitation: 4.11"
Total Snowfall: 11.7"
Days of 1" or more depth: 8

Nora 4 SSE - Elevation 2650 feet
Average Daily MAX: 43.0 degrees
Average Daily MIN: 26.7 degrees
MEAN: 34.8 degrees
Highest Temperature: 60 degrees
Lowest Temperature: 10 degrees
Total Precipitation: 2.40"
Total Snowfall: 10.2"
Days of 1" or more depth: 6

Jonesville 3.1 WSW - Elevation 1422 feet
Average Daily MAX: 49.7 degrees
Average Daily MIN: 26.0 degrees
MEAN: 37.8 degrees
Highest Temperature: 64 degrees
Lowest Temperature: 9 degrees
Total Precipitation: 4.46"
Total Snowfall: 1.7"


February 2012

February 19, 2012
Lost In Snow & Fog - Heavy Snow Begins on Long Ridge
Photograph by Wayne Riner - © All Rights Reserved.

Clintwood 1 W - Elevation 1560 feet
Average Daily MAX: 49.1 degrees
Average Daily MIN: 26.5 degrees
MEAN: 37.8 degrees
Highest Temperature: 67 degrees
Lowest Temperature: 13 degrees
Total Precipitation: 4.10"
Total Snowfall: 12.7"

City of Norton - Elevation 2141 feet
Average Daily MAX: 46.6 degrees
Average Daily MIN: 24.7 degrees
MEAN: 35.6 degrees
Highest Temperature: 65 degrees
Lowest Temperature: 9 degrees
Total Precipitation: 5.77"
Total Snowfall: 16.2"

Nora 4 SSE - Elevation 2650 feet
Average Daily MAX: 45.2 degrees
Average Daily MIN: 28.9 degrees
MEAN: 37.0 degrees
Highest Temperature: 61 degrees
Lowest Temperature: 7 degrees
Total Precipitation: 4.48"
Total Snowfall: 14.2"

Jonesville 3.1 WSW - Elevation 1422 feet
Average Daily MAX: 52.3 degrees
Average Daily MIN: 29.3 degrees
MEAN: 40.8 degrees
Highest Temperature: 73 degrees
Lowest Temperature: 12 degrees
Total Precipitation: 5.63"
Total Snowfall: 2.8"


Summary of Statistics 
December 2011-February 2012

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

Clintwood 1 W - Elevation 1560 feet
Average Daily MAX: 48.6 degrees
Average Daily MIN: 26.1 degrees
MEAN Winter Temperature: 37.4 degrees
Highest Temperature: 67 degrees
Lowest Temperature: 8 degrees
Total Precipitation: 10.90"
Total Snowfall: 24.0"

City of Norton - Elevation 2141 feet
Average Daily MAX: 45.7 degrees
Average Daily MIN: 24.3 degrees
MEAN Winter Temperature: 35.0 degrees
Highest Temperature: 65 degrees
Lowest Temperature: 7 degrees
Total Precipitation: 15.51"
Total Snowfall: 32.4"

Nora 4 SSE - Elevation 2650 feet
Average Daily MAX: 44.7 degrees
Average Daily MIN: 29.0 degrees
MEAN Winter Temperature: 36.8 degrees
Highest Temperature: 61 degrees
Lowest Temperature: 7 degrees
Total Precipitation: 11.27"
Total Snowfall: 30.6"

Jonesville 3.1 WSW - Elevation 1422 feet
Average Daily MAX: 51.5 degrees
Average Daily MIN: 28.3 degrees
MEAN Winter Temperature: 39.9 degrees
Highest Temperature: 73 degrees
Lowest Temperature: 9 degrees
Total Precipitation: 14.86"
Total Snowfall: 4.5"


In the High Knob highcountry, mean winter temperatures varied from upper 30s to lower 40s by day at the higher elevations to lower-mid 20s at night to generate mean winter temps in the 30 to 35 degree range ( 7 to 10 degrees above last winter ).

Total precip topped 18.00" in wetter portions of the massif as noted by the 17.23" caught in the NWS rain gage at Big Cherry Dam ( 0.80" lost on just the February 19 snow to imply well over 18.00" for the entire December-February period ).


March 2012
Living Up To Notorious Nature

March 15, 2012
Northern Lee County, Virginia
Big Pile of Hail In Front of Door
Photograph by Rodney Parsons - © All Rights Reserved. 

March 2012 has certainly lived up to the infamous, notorious nature of this fickle month of transition with essentially everything but the kitchen sink thrown at the mountain region so far ( and its not over yet! ).

Record warmth being the most recent twist with afternoon maximums hitting mid-upper 70s in the Norton-Wise area on March 19 ( 75 degrees in 1982 being the official record in Wise ).

[ Extreme temperatures varying from mid-upper 60s in cooler portions of the High Knob Massif to low-mid 80s in locations below 1600 feet subjected to downsloping on SSE-SW winds ].

The highest March temperatures ever observed at the elevation of Wise reached 80 degrees in March 1986 and March 2007 ( since recording began in 1955 ).

Current warmth is in stark contrast to bitter single digits and 10s felt above snow cover in morning hours of March 6 ( the only snowfall of the month, as previously highlighted ).

Mountain valley temperatures were in the mid-upper 40s at 2 AM on March 20 and dropping, with cold air drainage downward from still relatively dry air around 850 MB supporting large temp declines in valleys above 1500-2000 feet ( *the coolest readings destined for valleys above 2500-3000 feet in elevation ).

*Wildly mild for this time of year when minimums can still go sub-zero, with -1 degree F below zero being the record low in Wise for March 21, 1965 ( -15 degrees F below zero being the record in Burkes Garden for March 21, 1914 ).


Climate Statistics
For March 1-15, 2012
( Ending During AM of March 15 )

Clintwood 1 W - Elevation 1560 feet
Average Daily MAX: 60.7 degrees
Average Daily MIN: 30.9 degrees
March 1-15 MEAN: 45.8 degrees
Total Precipitation: 3.45"
Total Snowfall: 1.8"

City of Norton - Elevation 2141 feet
Average Daily MAX: 57.1 degrees
Average Daily MIN: 29.8 degrees
March 1-15 MEAN: 43.4 degrees
Total Precipitation: 5.12"
Total Snowfall: 4.2"

Nora 4 SSE - Elevation 2650 feet
Average Daily MAX: 55.5 degrees
Average Daily MIN: 35.8 degrees
March 1-15 MEAN: 45.6 degrees
Total Precipitation: 3.90"
Total Snowfall: 3.0"

Conditions trended milder and even wetter since March 15 ( AM ) with only a current break in rains that is expected to give way to more drenching showers & storms ( especially by late week & next week ).

Doppler Estimated 3-Day Rainfall Totals for March 15-18, 2012

Due to extensive hail, actual rainfall totals in most places were about one-half of what Doppler radar estimated ( amounts were still locally excessive during March 15-18 ).

[ Note the extensive coverage of heavy rain and storms across the High Knob Landform from the Powell Mountain Block ( along the borders of Wise, Scott, and Lee counties ) of the High Knob Massif southwest to the I-75 corridor in northern Tennessee.

Major flash flooding occurred to the north in Lincoln, Logan, and Mingo counties of southwestern West Virginia ].

No comments:

Post a Comment