Thursday, September 27, 2012

Autumn Color Changes In 2012


September 26, 2012
Water Elevation 2734 feet
Bark Camp Lake of High Knob Massif
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.


Frosty cold nights in high mountain valleys have accelerated color changes in recent days with vivid hues developing in the High Knob Massif.

September 26, 2012
Cold Air Drainage of Little Stony Creek Valley
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.


The Tavern On Main in Wise will host a gallery of Roddy Addington photography during the month of November.  Everyone is invited!

September 26, 2012
Valley Floor Elevation 3400-3600+ feet
Big Stony Creek of Upper Tennessee River Basin
Significant Color Changes In High Knob Lake Basin
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

Significant colorations are decorating high valleys and ridges of the massif from Bark Camp Lake to High Knob Lake, and from lofty Benges Basin of the dual Norton Reservoirs into sprawling 
Big Cherry Lake Basin.

September 26, 2012
Jefferson National Forest
Endemic Southern Appalachian Northern Hardwoods
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

Rich high elevation cove forests add diversity to color and life as part of a northern hardwoods ecosystem endemic to the Southern Appalachians.

E. Lucy Braun
Ecological Monographs Volume 12 No. 4
"The Cumberland Mountains are the center of distribution of the
mixed mesophytic forest.  This is emphasized by the large number of association-segregates of the mixed mesophytic association, the large size of trees, large number of species in the canopy,
and wide range of habitat of climax species."

These diverse mountain forests are certainly not lacking for moisture, with up to 140"+ since the beginning of last year 
( 80"+ during 2011 and 55-60"+ so far in 2012 ).

September 26, 2012
Colorful Water Reflections Upon Bark Camp Lake
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

While the peak is still to come, there is no denying these beautiful September colors!

( "The Peak" being close in High Knob Lake Basin )

September 26, 2012
Bark Camp Lake of High Knob Massif
Late Afternoon Sunshine In High Mountain Valley
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

Oaks typically change late in the season amid low elevations but can develop early colorations across high valleys and ridges of mid-upper elevations.

September 26, 2012
Upper Little Stony Creek Valley
Scarlet Oak ( Quercus coccinea
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

Roddy had some excellent help taking all these gorgeous photographs, with grandson Zeke doing 
a personal inspection of conditions in 
Bark Camp Lake!

September 26, 2012
Bark Camp Lake of High Knob Massif
Zeke Having Fun & Studying The Situation 
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

October 6 at Bark Camp Lake


"A Day in the Life of Wise County"
A Photography Workshop & Competition
October 19-21, 2012




Cold Pattern 
( First High-Elevation Snowflakes )

500 MB Chart
Atmospheric Setting Anchored By Rex Block

A very stable +PNA Teleconnection Phase across western North America, anchored by a Rex Block, will aid the transport of unseasonably cold air into the eastern United States this weekend.

For more information about +PNA reference:

Phasing Jet Streams At 300 MB

Transition to this cold pattern started October 6 with lowering cloud bases and falling temperatures just in time to welcome the 6th Annual High Knob Naturalist Rally sponsored by The Clinch Coalition.

October 6, 2012
Flag Rock Recreation Area
Colors In The Clouds - High Knob Massif
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

Temperatures dropped quickly in morning hours of October 6 with mid-upper 40s from Norton-Wise into the High Knob Massif by 11 AM.  This was in contrast to middle 60s in the Tri-Cities of the Great Valley ( northeast Tennessee ) and 70s east of the 
Blue Ridge in North Carolina and Virginia.

October 6, 2012
Autumn In The High Knob Massif
Falling Temperatures & Lowering Cloud Bases
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

No snow was officially reported in the High Knob Massif area during Sunday despite unseasonably cold conditions and day time temperatures mostly in the 30s to middle 40s ( October 7 ).

October 7, 2012
Jefferson National Forest
Colors In The Clouds - High Knob Lake Basin
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

[ Poor visibility makes it hard to compare this photograph with those taken September 26 when color change was more than 50% across the High Knob Lake Basin ( reference earlier photos ) ].

Dense fog ( clouds ) and falling leaves in gusty northerly winds created low visibility at the summit level of the massif during much of the October 6-8 period.

Only intervals of diminishing moisture in passing clouds capping the high country allowed peaking colors to become partially visible at times during the wintry coldness of October 7.

October 7, 2012
High Knob Massif Crest Zone
Bare Trees Mixed With Color Changes
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

When bare trees become increasingly mixed with color changes the peak is called as early, bright hues disappear even as a few trees remain mostly green.  To catch the best amid this lofty terrain the mid-late September to early October period must not be neglected despite listed peaks for Virginia.



Many times over the years at the former, beloved High Knob Lookout Tower, I told folks who might say "colors up here are not as bright"...that..."you should have seen it a week or two ago" ( the peak has passed up here! ).

October 7, 2012
High Knob Massif Crest Zone
Autumn Wildflowers Add To Majesty Of Season
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

Its a different world up here, as dropping down below the capping cloud zone into much greener Powell Valley illustrates!

October 7, 2012
View from Powell Valley Overlook
Cap & Wave Clouds Over High Knob Massif
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

Bowed wave clouds reveal air flowing across the massif as fractus clouds form over Powell Valley and a solid layer of capping pilatus obscure upper elevations above the great band of calcareous cliffs ( along which, by no coincidence, bright colorations increase in coverage as the climate gets colder in the mean ).

October 7, 2012
View from Powell Valley of High Knob Massif
Arch Of Orographic Waves Above Cap Clouds
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

The band of great calcareous cliffs along which the solid cap clouds have formed often mark the winter RIME zone ( as well documented on this website ).

( Example From March 2010 )

A secondary disturbance rotating through the base of the upper trough brought the first flakes of snow to highest elevations along the western Appalachians during October 8.

As expected, snow actually accumulated above 4000 feet in the central-northern West Virginia highlands where up to 1" was reported in the Snowshoe to Spruce Knob corridor.

In the High Knob Massif area only a few wet flakes mixed in with mostly a very cold rain, amid bands of enhanced Doppler indicated reflectivities, as a melting layer aloft remained deep enough to change falling snow into rain.

October 8, 2012
JKL Doppler Reflectivity At 11:05 AM

JKL Doppler Reflectivity At 11:09 AM

JKL Doppler Reflectivity At 11:09 AM

JKL Doppler Reflectivity At 11:13 AM

JKL Doppler Reflectivity At 11:18 AM

JKL Doppler Reflectivity At 11:22 AM
( Rainfall totals of 0.50" to 1.00" were common )

Temperatures hovered in wintry mid-upper 30s all day at the summit level of the High Knob Massif ( during October 8 ).

Sleet mixed with rain was also reported in Lee County by Rodney Parsons as some of these bright bands moved across during the early morning.


October typically brings the first snow to upper elevations of the High Knob Massif, with the September 30 to October 1 period of last year featuring the first accumulation.


 ( October 2009 )



The Topographic Setting
And Elevation Effect On Color

The advance and acceleration of autumn color in high valleys of the massif is driven in part by cold air drainage and in part by the elevation effect.

September 26, 2012
Looking Toward Wise Plateau & Pine Mountain
The Elevation Effect On Display - Bowman Mountain
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

The effect of increasing elevation is certainly displayed by this view from near Osborne Rock 
of the long, western slope of Bowman Mountain, featuring abundant colorations on upper slopes which rise to near 3700 feet above sea level.

Although Bowman Mountain is relatively high in elevation, its crestlines are only a couple hundred feet above the valley floor at High Knob Lake where both elevation and cold air drainage combine to accelerate autumn colors.

Upper Tennessee River Basin
Big Stony Creek of Clinch River
High Knob Lake of High Knob Massif
( Water Elevation of 3490 Feet Above Sea Level )

High Knob Lake is approximately 733 vertical feet lower than the High Knob peak, which rises northwest of the Lake.

September 2012
Coolness Of Morning Dew Enhances A Spider Web
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

Some of the coldest High Knob Massif places are high valley floors above Big Cherry Lake where South Fork of Powell River ( a headwater creek at this lofty elevation ) twists for more than 6 miles through wetlands formed upon nearly level valley floors ideal for cold air pooling.  At 3200 feet above sea level, valley floors are still 1000+ vertical feet lower than their basin head ( * ).

*Air-water surface exchanges of moisture & heat are not a factor as cold air drains from northeast to southwest through high valleys toward Big Cherry Lake.

April 12, 2012
Upper Tennessee River Basin
Head of South Fork of Powell River
Big Cherry Lake of High Knob Massif
( Water Elevation of 3120 Feet Above Sea Level )

Mean Elevation Around 3200 feet
Northeast of Big Cherry Lake Along The South Fork
One Of Coldest Valleys In The High Knob Massif

April 12, 2012
Lingering Snow-Ice From Mid-April Cold Blast

Once the Lake freezes during winter, colder air forming in high valleys above Big Cherry Lake can flow across its surface unmodified by conduction, convection, and latent heat driven air-water interface changes of state.

To put this into perspective, consider that the 3149 foot summit of Birch Knob of Pine Mountain is lower than high valleys of Big Cherry Basin and that more than 1000 vertical feet of mountain is still available for downward drainage of cold air into this high valley setting.  No wonder autumn colors come early to these high valleys and ridges!

A common setting in the High Knob Massif.
A rare setting in the Cumberland Mountains.

September 28, 2012
Elevation 2350 feet
Little Stone Mountain Gap of High Knob Massif
Night Traffic On U.S. 23 At Powell Valley Overlook
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

A middle elevation example of autumn color changes forced by topographic settings can be illustrated by Powell Valley Overlook, at 2350 feet above sea level, and the Upper Falls of Little Stony Gorge located 12 air miles ESE of the Overlook on the other side of the High Knob Massif.

September 25, 2012
Elevation 2180 feet
Clinch River Basin of High Knob Massif
Upper Falls of Little Stony Creek Gorge
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

Although just a little lower in elevation than Powell Valley Overlook, this setting is much different with the Falls located amid the cold air drainage corridor of Little Stony Creek Valley where autumn color changes tend to develop faster than at the well mixed, slope location of Powell Valley Overlook.

September 25, 2012
Between Rainfall Events
Upper Falls of Little Stony Gorge
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

The coldest locations in Little Stony Basin are located upstream of 
Bark Camp Lake where nearly flat, high valley floors again support wetlands with cold air pooling & drainage from upper elevations 
( others are located in open valleys of Corder & Ramey Branch upstream of Little Stony Gorge ).

A combination of elevation and topographic setting, with many cold air drainage basins amid the massif, works to accelerate autumn color changes during most years 
( with some few exceptions ).

Reference the following for a listing of past peak periods in the High Knob Massif

( 2000 to 2010 )

If strong winds and heavy precipitation can be avoided, along with bitter cold, much good color often lingers beyond peak of the brightest, most vivid colorations.



High Knob Massif
Autumn Color Patterns
Courtesy of BING Maps

The following public images are courtesy of Bing maps and can be viewed in the bing viewer at the following High Knob Massif on BING or within the online version of ArcGIS by selecting Bing Aerial Maps or by clicking on the link below.


Image examples below are not for sale or public copying without permission of ArcGIS and Bing. They have not been altered in any way and are only for educational proposes on this free, not for profit website, and are courtesy of BING Maps & ArcGIS.



South Fork of Powell River Basin
( Big Cherry Lake Basin )

October 2012
Colors In The Sky Above Powell Valley
Big Cherry Lake to High Knob Lake

Vivid hues of gorgeous autumn color had the high country shining when this image was captured days ago by satellite imagery, with a concentration of colors from Big Cherry Lake to High Knob Lake and the Norton Reservoirs ( not visible above ).

Note that colors have changed more in recent days amid frosty nights, with some trees turning that were green while others are losing leaves.  A significant higher elevation fall of leaves is expected on developing SW winds, with 20 to 40 mph gusts, during October 14-15.

October 2012
High Knob Massif
Along South Fork of Powell River
Southwest of Big Cherry Dam - Vista 1

Working southwest to northeast along South Fork of the Powell River toward Big Cherry Dam, vivid colorations have been on display above 3000 feet.

October 2012
High Knob Massif
Along South Fork of Powell River
Southwest of Big Cherry Dam - Vista 2

October 2012
High Knob Massif
Along South Fork of Powell River
Southwest of Big Cherry Dam - Vista 3

A diverse mixed-mesophytic forest is clearly evident in this high precipitation area via an amazing array of different colorations.

E. Lucy Braun
"The number of species of the forest canopy...is a feature of the mixed mesophytic forest, a feature strikingly emphasized in October during the period of fall coloration."

October 2012
South Fork of Powell River Basin
Big Cherry Dam of High Knob Massif

Lake Elevation 3120 feet
Big Cherry Dam of High Knob Massif - Vista 2

Big Cherry Dam of High Knob Massif - Vista 3

A area just west of the Dam is especially vivid.

October 2012
Colors Just West of Big Cherry Dam

Colors north and northeast of the Dam, amid this cold air pooling basin, are not bad either!

High Knob Massif
Colors Along Lake North of Dam

Big Cherry Basin of High Knob Massif
Colors Across Middle Portion of Lake

Big Cherry Basin of High Knob Massif
Colors Across Upper Portion of Lake

Colorful Shorelines of Upper Big Cherry Lake

October 2012
High Knob Massif
Powell River of Upper Tennessee River Basin
Peak Colors Northeast of Lake In Big Cherry Basin

All this amazing color through Big Cherry Basin was in marked contrast to much more green, at the time these images were made, in South Fork Gorge as air plunging down out of the high country limited frost and undercut warmer valley air to produce fog on many mornings.

High Knob Massif
Looking Down South Fork Gorge
Amazing Transition From Peak To Green

The South Fork plunges 1433 vertical feet in only 4 miles downstream of Big Cherry Dam, so it is little wonder that weather conditions change as autumn air draining across Big Cherry Lake also picks up moisture to carry it along the way.

Transition From Peak To Green
Big Stone Gap Water Plant In South Fork Gorge



Mountain Fork of Big Stony Creek Basin
( High Knob Lake Basin )

Elevation 4067 feet
Little Mountain Knob of High Knob Massif
Chief Benges Hiking-Horseback Trail Head

Dedicated in Summer 2012, Chief Benges Hiking and Horseback Riding Trail Head rests upon Little Mountain Knob that straddles the divide between basins of Big Cherry Lake, High Knob Lake, and Straight Fork Gorge.

Elevation 4223 feet
( Site of former High Knob Lookout Tower )
High Knob Meadow on The High Knob Peak

The peak of High Knob sits at the head of lofty basins 
holding Big Cherry Lake, High Knob Lake, and the dual 
Norton Reservoir system.

High Knob Meadow, on the main peak, and Camp Rock Meadow rise to the northwest and southeast, respectively, of Little Mountain Knob.

Elevation 3903 feet
Camp Rock Meadow of Big Flat Top

Long and narrow Camp Rock Meadow is observed along left of above image adjacent to State Route 619. Northwest slopes of
Big Flat Top drain into High Knob Lake Basin.

Beautiful colors developed in High Knob Lake Basin by the last week or two of September, as highlighted by photographer Roddy Addington at the beginning of this Autumn Color 2012 section.

As this is illustrating, colors also developed early in Big Cherry Basin and across other portions of the massif during September
( i.e., in order to equal or pass High Knob Lake Basin in changes ).

Jefferson National Forest
Forest Service Route 238
Head of High Knob Lake Basin

High Knob Lake Basin is closed to vehicles in mid-September.

Water Elevation 3490 feet
High Knob Lake of High Knob Massif



Northern Slopes of High Knob Massif
( Norton Reservoir System in Benges Basin )

Flag Rock Recreation Area & Pickem Mountain
Norton Reservoirs of The City of Norton Watershed
Lower Reservoir Elevation 3239 feet
Upper Reservoir Elevation 3318 feet

Punctuated by jagged cliffs and strips of green, where cold air drains rapidly down, northern slopes of the High Knob Massif contain spectacular color that can rival the awesome brilliance illustrated across Big Cherry Basin.

October 2012
Pickem Mountain of High Knob Massif
Flag Rock Recreation Area East Across Lost Creek

While it might seem counter-intuitive that color lags in cold air drainages, these are very steep like South Fork Gorge with drop gradients of 500-1500+ feet per mile that keep air in constant motion 
( sinking or rising ).  These drainages are different from those of 
high valley floors with low gradients where air can pool 
at night to fill basins like Big Cherry with coldness.

( Forest Service Route 2420 )
Clinch River Watershed of Upper Tennessee Basin
Lost Creek & Clear Creek Basins of Guest River

Pickem Mountain has always been a beloved autumn foliage destination, in part because it rises from the valley floor of the City of Norton and is easily viewed by residents and travelers along 
U.S. 23 and Alt. 58, as well as from Overlooks in Flag Rock Recreation Area.  In reality, however, some of the best color often can not be seen from Norton and is behind the top of the ridge visible from the city ( as these images illustrate ).

High Knob Massif
Behind Ridge Top Visible From City of Norton
Spectacular Autumn Color On Pickem Mountain

High Knob Massif
Pickem Mountain Backcountry SE of Norton

Toward Machine Creek Basin
Northeastern Extent of Pickem Mountain

The Eagle Knob Communications Complex sits upon the peak that divides Benges Basin of the Norton Reservoirs from that of High Knob Lake Basin ( known by the Blue Ridge PBS transmitter tower with its blinking "red" light ).

Elevation 4189 feet
Eagle Knob of High Knob Massif



Glady Fork of Big Stony Creek Basin
( The Glades )

Mean Elevation 2900 feet
Glady Fork Wetland Valley of High Knob Massif

Open meadows, major dying of Canadian Hemlock ( Tsuga canadensis ) trees, and frosty cold nights have The Glades looking ragged compared to more heavily forested sections of the massif.

Upper Tennessee River Basin
Glady Fork of Big Stony Creek of Clinch River

( From State Route 706 )
Forest Service Route 291 Into The Glades

Jefferson National Forest
Colorful Entering Wetland Valley From North

Autumn Colors East of The Glades
Between The Glades & Little Stony Creek Wetlands



Little Stony Basin of High Knob Massif
( Bark Camp Lake Basin )

Water Elevation 2734 feet
Bark Camp Lake of High Knob Massif

Bark Camp Lake rests just east of The Glades in the lowest elevation basin highlighted so far in this autumn color section.

Upper Tenneessee River Basin
Little Stony Creek of Clinch River
Autumn Color At Upper End of Bark Camp Lake

The coldest air tends to pool at night in the upper basin of Little Stony Creek where nearly flat valley floors support extensive wetlands.

High Knob Massif
Boardwalk Across Wetland Valley

Extensive Wetlands Toward Robinson Fork

Autumn Color In Upper Little Stony Creek Valley

What is not visible in these images taken from far above are the many wildflowers of autumn which add great diversity and color to the landscape.

Many native wildflowers are hardy and can stand frosty cold conditions with limited damage until temperatures dip into lower to middle 20s.

Along Osborne Ridge Backcountry
Autumn Colors Just South of Bark Camp Lake



High Knob Massif Communities
( Wise & Scott counties )

The High Knob Massif contains the highest elevation communities within the 150 air mile expanse of the Cumberland Mountains, 
and some of the highest in Virginia.

( High Chaparral to Left - Robinson Knob to Right )
High Chaparral & Robinson Knob Communities

Straddling the divide between Little Stony Creek Basin and the northern slope basins of Burns Creek and Mill Creek are the High Chaparral and Robinson Knob communities.

Mean Elevation 3300 feet
High Chaparral Community of High Knob Massif

With elevations between 3100 and 3400 feet, winter can get rough ( to say the least ) in these upper elevation communities.

Mean Elevation 3200 feet
Robinson Knob Community of High Knob Massif

Vivid autumn color has been on display around these communities.

High Knob Massif
Just South of Bowman Mountain
Autumn Color West of High Chaparral

Between Burns Creek & Machine Creek
Autumn Color North of High Chaparral

Autumn Color Northwest of High Chaparral

Autumn Color North of High Chaparral

Natural Gas Well roads cut through many sections of vivid color in this area.

Autumn Color Northwest of Robinson Knob

The Black Hill & Osborne Ridge communities 
are to the south, with Moore Knob & Flat Gap communities to the southeast and northeast, respectively, of High Chaparral & Robinson Knob.

High Knob Massif
Elevation 3100 to 3200 feet
Black Hill Community ( Northern End )

Elevation 3100 feet
Black Hill Community ( Southern End )

Elevation 3000 to 3100 feet
Osborne Ridge Community of High Knob Massif

The Osborne Ridge community is located 3 air miles SSE 
of the Robinson Knob community.

The highest elevation community in the High Knob Massif is called The Cox Place, formerly known as Johnson Pastures, adjacent to the southern end of Big Cherry Lake.

Elevation 3400 to 3500 feet
Cox Place Community on Little Mountain

The Cox Place is 8 air miles WSW of the Osborne Ridge community.

Between Cox Place and the Devil Fork Roadless Area is a newer community on Little Mountain at elevations between 2950 and 3400 feet.

Little Mountain Community Adjacent To Cox Place

Big Stony Creek of Clinch River Basin
Autumn Color On Little Mountain In Devil Fork Basin

The lowest High Knob Massif communities in elevation, outside of its interior Powell Valley, 
are found at its far eastern end adjacent 
to Guest River Gorge.

The Flatwoods is the largest and most populated community at elevations of 2400-2600 feet.

The Flatwoods of High Knob Massif ( North End )

Being the lowest community in elevation on the massif it is not surprising that autumn color had changed the least at the time these images were taken ( colors being more advanced as of October 14, 2012 ).

Color in this area being most advanced west of Flatwoods where cold air drains off the high country into low gradient valleys like those of Ramey Branch & Corder Branch of Little Stony Creek.

( Near Wise-Scott County border )
Southern Portion of The Flatwoods

The Flatwoods are located 12 to 13 air miles ENE of The Cox Place and approximately 2 to 3 air miles west of Guest River Gorge.

Elevation 2500-2600 feet
West of Flatwoods In Cold Air Drainage
Ramey Branch Valley of High Knob Massif



Other Places Of Colorful Interest

Along Mountain Fork Route 704
Head of Chimney Rock Gorge of High Knob Massif

There were many other places with vivid autumn colors at the time of these images, only a few of which will be noted here.

South of Little Mountain Knob
Head of Straight Fork Gorge of High Knob Massif

Little Eagle Knob Area of High Knob Massif

High Knob Massif
Powell Mountain Block
Colorful Maple Gap Karst Fields Along Route 722

Powell Mountain Block
Cove Creek Gorge of High Knob Massif

( Parts of the Powell Mountain Block of the High Knob Massif 
have not been recently updated ).



Climate Statistics
For September 2012

September 26, 2012
Intersection of State Routes 706 & 699
Autumn Colors Point The Way To Bark Camp Lake
Photograph by Darlene Fields - © All Rights Reserved.

( Lower Elevations of Russell Fork Basin )
Clintwood 1 W - Elevation 1560 feet
 Average Daily MAX: 73.5 degrees
Average Daily MIN: 51.5 degrees
MEAN: 62.5 degrees
Highest Temperature: 86 degrees
Lowest Temperature: 33 degrees
Rainfall: 4.21"
2012 Precipitation: 35.36"

( Northern Base of High Knob Massif )
City of Norton - Elevation 2141 feet
Average Daily MAX: 73.1 degrees
Average Daily MIN: 49.4 degrees
MEAN: 61.2 degrees
Highest Temperature: 85 degrees
Lowest Temperature: 31 degrees
Rainfall: 6.11"
2012 Precipitation: 54.97"

( Along The Tennessee Valley Divide )
Nora 4 SSE - Elevation 2650 feet
Average Daily MAX: 71.7 degrees
Average Daily MIN: 55.4 degrees
MEAN: 63.6 degrees
Highest Temperature: 83 degrees
Lowest Temperature: 39 degrees
Rainfall: 5.74"
2012 Precipitation: 36.52"

Mean September temps in the High Knob Massif varied from mid-upper 60s at highest elevations by day to mid-upper 40s at night in high mountain valleys ( lower 50s on exposed ridges ).

The average daily max was 69.0 degrees at Norton Water Plant, elevation 2342 feet, during September to illustrate how northern slope locations turn much cooler as days shorten and sun angles decrease in the High Knob Massif area.

A series of frosty mornings reached a climax on September 24 with mid 20s to lower 30s in colder mountain valleys.  This was in contrast with upper 30s to lower 40s on exposed slopes and ridges.

September was yet another wet month during 2012 with a general 6.00" to 8.00" of rainfall across the High Knob Massif area, from the City of Norton into the Clinch River Valley.

September 29, 2012
High Knob Massif Slopes
Wildcat Section of Powell Valley
Autumn Color In Lower Elevations
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

A wet September ending and beginning to October created many beautiful autumn scenes with an impressive, persistent orographic cloud band capping the entire massif of High Knob between Coeburn and Duffield throughout October 1.

Meanwhile, strong wind gusts broke tree limbs as 
SE mountain waves formed along the massif in southern 
Wise and northeastern Lee counties during October 1.

September 29, 2012
Foggy Mountain Slopes And Developing Color
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.


Season Of Preparation
Autumn Beauty In Nature

Tennessee Valley Divide
Pumpkin Gold Sunrise of September 25, 2012
Photograph by Wayne Riner - © All Rights Reserved.

Wayne Riner Photograph Thoughts...
"Fall announced itself with a sunrise of bright colors on the eastern sky."

While many dread what comes with this season of change, there is no dispute over the magnificent beauty that decorates the southern Appalachians during this time each year.  From flora to fauna, and humans alike, it is a season of preparation for the hard and stormy months ahead!

To quote my friend Wayne Riner, Long Ridge is an awesome place to live its "just those three months" that get you!  Of course, he was referring to winter and those dreaded WIND CHILLS that dominate the highlands ( often with blowing snow ).

Meanwhile, lets enjoy some more autumn scenes!

September 26, 2012
Long Ridge Apple Orchard
Beautiful & Delicious Apple At Tree Top
Photograph by Wayne Riner - © All Rights Reserved.

Wayne Riner Photograph Thoughts...
"The best apples are located in the top of the tree.  It has been bathed in warm sun all summer long."

Northern Wise County In Late September
Foggy Morning At North Fork of Pound Lake
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

September 9, 2012
Northern Dickenson County
Horse Pasture In "South Of The Mountain"
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Late September At North Fork of Pound Lake
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.


Autumn colors and lakes generate favorite scenes with magical, rippling water reflections of 
Mother Nature's color palette!

September 26, 2012
Bark Camp Lake Dam of High Knob Massif
White Pines Contrast With Developing Color
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

Water Elevation 1610 feet
Recreation On North Fork of Pound Lake
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

September 26, 2012
Colors Ripple On Bark Camp Lake
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

My friends Wayne & Genevie Riner recently captured a Black Bear going about his routine, unaware of their presence, with preparations for winter and a bit of back scratching on the agenda for this September day!  

September 2012
Blear Bear Video From The Highlands

Wayne & Genevie Riner Video - © All Rights Reserved.

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