Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Spring 2012 Recap - Summer Begins Cool


May 17, 2012
Carolina Rose ( Rosa carolina )
Photograph by Wayne Riner - © All Rights Reserved.


Wayne Riner Photograph Thoughts...
"This small native rose, also known as the pasture rose, is touched by the last light of the setting sun."


Climate Statistics
For May 2012

( Lower elevation of Russell Fork Basin )
Clintwood 1 W - Elevation 1560 feet
Average Daily MAX: 77.2 degrees
Average Daily MIN: 52.4 degrees
MEAN: 64.8 degrees
Highest Temperature: 87 degrees
Lowest Temperature: 36 degrees
Rainfall: 3.10"
May 1-June 1 Rainfall: 4.68"

( Northern base of High Knob Massif )
City of Norton - Elevation 2141 feet
Average Daily MAX: 75.0 degrees
Average Daily MIN: 50.6 degrees
MEAN: 62.8 degrees
Highest Temperature: 85 degrees
Lowest Temperature: 34 degrees
Rainfall: 3.97"
May 1-June 1 Rainfall: 5.81"

( Wise Plateau Along TN Valley Divide )
Wise 3 E - Elevation 2549 feet
Average Daily MAX: 73.8 degrees
Average Daily MIN: 55.5 degrees
MEAN: 64.6 degrees
Highest Temperature: 84 degrees
Lowest Temperature: 38 degrees
Rainfall: 2.87"

( Along The Tennessee Valley Divide )
Nora 4 SSE - Elevation 2650 feet
Average Daily MAX: 73.6 degrees
Average Daily MIN: 57.2 degrees
MEAN: 65.4 degrees
Highest Temperature: 83 degrees
Lowest Temperature: 44 degrees
Rainfall: 2.45"
May 1-June 1 Rainfall: 4.35"

( Northern Edge of The Cedars )
Jonesville 3.1 WSW - Elevation 1422 feet
Average Daily MAX: 80.0 degrees
Average Daily MIN: 54.5 degrees
MEAN: 67.2 degrees
Highest Temperature: 90 degrees
Lowest Temperature: 37 degrees
Rainfall: 3.93"
May 1-June 1 Rainfall: 5.46"

In the High Knob highcountry mean temps during May varied from mid-upper 60s by day at highest elevations to upper 40s-lower 50s by night in cooler valleys ( mid-upper 50s on exposed ridges ).

May rainfall was below average, varying from 3.00" to 4.00" in drier places to between 5.00" and 6.00" amid the main crest zone from Bowman Mountain in Clear Creek Basin southwest across the basins of High Knob Lake & Big Cherry Lake ( as well as along portions of Little Stone Mountain ).

Superintendent Gary Hampton & Staff of the Big Stone Gap Water Plant measured 7.33" of rain at Big Cherry Dam during the May 1-June 4 period, with 7.29" reported by Superintendent Jack Pitts at Appalachia Lake Water Plant ( Little Stone Mountain ).

May 29, 2012
High Knob Massif
( See View Right of This Below )
Orographic Clouds Develop Across Massif
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

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

January: 4.70”

February: 5.91”

March: 7.98”

April: 3.66”

May: 5.16”

June 1-11: 2.17”

2012 Raw Total: 29.58”


Approximate 2012 
Moisture Losses

February 19 Snowfall: 0.80”

January 1-April 24 Evaporation: 0.54”

April 25-June 11 Evaporation: 0.23”

Total Losses: 1.57”
( January 1 to June 11, 2012 )


2012 Total: 29.58” + 1.57” = 31.15”
*( January 1 to June 11 AM )


Recent Annual Totals
2009: 81.34” ( M )
2010: 65.60” ( M )
2011: 80.25” ( M )

3-Year Mean: 75.73” ( M )
( Around 3.50” per year of missing moisture )

Current 43-Month Mean 
Monthly Precipitation: 6.22"
( November 2008-May 2012 )

Current 43-Month Mean Precipitation
Per 12-Month Periods: 74.64" ( M )
( Highest ever observed in Virginia )

( * ) - Precipitation is hand-measured at Big Cherry Dam once every 7 days, on average, with this total being analogous to that observed if it were possible to hand-measure every day in 2012.

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

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

June 1, 2012
Day Lily ( Hemerocallis spp. )
Photograph by Bill Harris - © All Rights Reserved.


Climate Statistics
For Spring 2012
( March 1 to May 31 )

Clintwood 1 W - Elevation 1560 feet
Average Daily MAX: 71.1 degrees
Average Daily MIN: 43.0 degrees
MEAN: 57.0 degrees
Highest Temperature: 87 degrees
Lowest Temperature: 20 degrees
Spring Precipitation: 12.45"
Snowfall: 1.8"

City of Norton - Elevation 2141 feet
Average Daily MAX: 67.8 degrees
Average Daily MIN: 41.6 degrees
MEAN: 54.7 degrees
Highest Temperature: 85 degrees
Lowest Temperature: 17 degrees
Spring Precipitation: 17.38"
Snowfall: 4.2"

Nora 4 SSE - Elevation 2650 feet
Average Daily MAX: 66.1 degrees
Average Daily MIN: 47.6 degrees
MEAN: 56.8 degrees
Highest Temperature: 83 degrees
Lowest Temperature: 21 degrees
Spring Precipitation: 13.51"
Snowfall: 3.3"

Jonesville 3.1 WSW - Elevation 1422 feet
Average Daily MAX: 72.9 degrees
Average Daily MIN: 46.4 degrees
MEAN: 59.6 degrees
Highest Temperature: 90 degrees
Lowest Temperature: 20 degrees
Spring Precipitation: 14.54"
Snowfall: Trace

In the High Knob highcountry mean temperatures during spring varied in the 50-55 degree range from upper 50s-lower 60s by day at highest elevations to upper 30s-lower 40s at night in the cooler mountain basins ( 2400-3600 feet ).

While spring precipitation was generally below average, a zone along northwestern-northern slopes of the massif received near to slightly above average precipitation from the town of Appalachia and the City of Norton into adjacent portions of Little Stone-Pickem Mountain & Stone Mountain.

( Between Duffield & Coeburn )
Remnant Massif of The High Knob Landform
Google Terrain Map

Spring snowfall was much below average with the bulk falling during a heavy burst in wake of a historic early March outbreak of severe thunderstorms and tornadoes.



( Last Major Event of Meteorological Winter )


Cool Start To Summer 2012
( Meteorological Summer is June 1 to August 31 )

Mountain Chorus Frog ( Pseudacris brachyphona )
Photograph by Wayne Riner - © All Rights Reserved.


This tiny Mountain Chorus Frog is considered to be a very high conservation species in Virginia with a range that is generally restricted to locations west of the New River.

Mountain Chorus Frog

While the initially wet start to Summer 2012 was undoubtedly favored by these little fellows, a cool start was not since amphibians like the Mountain Chorus Frog are ectothermic and tend to depend mostly upon environmental sources of heat.

Nights in higher mountain valleys were, in fact, down right chilly with an average nightly low temperature of 45.3 degrees being observed in the City of Norton during the June 1-10 period.

Such coolness implied 40 to 45 degree minimums in lofty basins of the High Knob Massif where valley floors rest amid the 2400 to 3600 foot elevation zone ( many with wetlands & lakes ).

In fact, temperatures dipped into the 30s in colder places.  That is chilly by any standards, especially the first month of meteorological summer.  BRRR!

Climate Statistics
 ( June 1-10, 2012 )

City of Norton - Elevation 2141 feet
Average Daily MAX: 72.7 degrees
Average Daily MIN: 45.3 degrees
MEAN: 59.0 degrees
Total Rainfall: 1.84"

Mountain Chorus Frog ( Pseudacris brachyphona )
Photograph by Wayne Riner - © All Rights Reserved.


Climate Statistics
For June 1-15, 2012

Clintwood 1 W - Elevation 1560 feet
Average Daily MAX: 76.5 degrees
Average Daily MIN: 50.4 degrees
MEAN: 63.4 degrees
Highest Temperature: 84 degrees
Lowest Temperature: 45 degrees
Rainfall: 1.59"
2012 Precipitation: 20.77"

City of Norton - Elevation 2141 feet
Average Daily MAX: 74.7 degrees
Average Daily MIN: 47.9 degrees
MEAN: 61.3 degrees
Highest Temperature: 82 degrees
Lowest Temperature: 43 degrees
Rainfall: 1.89"
2012 Precipitation: 29.15"

Nora 4 SSE - Elevation 2650 feet
Average Daily MAX: 73.1 degrees
Average Daily MIN: 55.5 degrees
MEAN: 64.3 degrees
Highest Temperature: 82 degrees
Lowest Temperature: 45 degrees
Rainfall: 1.90"
2012 Precipitation: 22.29"

In the High Knob highcountry average temps during the first half of June varied from mid-upper 60s at highest elevations by day to 40s at night in the cooler valleys ( low-mid 50s on exposed ridges ).

[ That included unseasonably cold minimum temperatures in the 30s to lower 40s during June 2-3 and June 8-9 ( especially amid lofty valleys within the 2400-3600 foot elevation zone ) ].

Rainfall varied between 2.00" and 3.00" in the main crest zone with the majority falling amid orographic forcing early in the month during the June 1-2 period.  Dryness and only isolated convective activity following that atypical ( for summer ) synoptic-scale system into mid-June.

The early June system was not typical of summer in that it generated a large-scale, or synoptic, pressure gradient that drove winds across the High Knob Landform to crank up orographic forcing and form capping pilatus clouds over the massif 
( more typical of November-May ).

( See View Left of This Above )
Example from May 29, 2012
Orographic Clouds Capping Massif
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

Clouds capping high mountain ridges in the distance, and left of this view as observed in the previous photo from May 29 above, which surround Big Cherry Basin of the High Knob Massif are part of a seeder-feeder precip process associated with orographic forcing that acts to enhance precipitation amounts reaching the ground.


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