Friday, December 14, 2012

Mild Winter Start - Big Moisture Differences


December 4, 2012
Long Ridge of Tennessee Valley Divide
Awesome Morning Sunrise Above The Highlands
Photograph by Genevie Riner - © All Rights Reserved.

Wave clouds and fall streaks combined to paint a 
glorious morning scene above the mountains!


Meteorological Winter 2012 has started mild, with the first two weeks featuring only a little snow at mid-upper elevations.  Less December snow than observed by this time last year!

December 11, 2012
Early Morning Snow & Icing In Wise County, Virginia
Image Courtesy of Dan Hunsaker & WCYB-TV Archive

December 11, 2012
Wintry Beauty Starts A Bone Chilling Day
Image Courtesy of Dan Hunsaker & WCYB-TV Archive

The season to date snowfall total of 31.5" at the summit level of the High Knob Massif is mostly thanks to Superstorm Sandy, with record dryness in November being followed by a return of wetter conditions in December ( minus any big snow ).


Big Moisture Differences
Across Virginia In 2012

December 9, 2012
Like A Watercolor Painted Sky
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.


It has been another wet year along the High Knob Landform with a general 60.00" to 70.00" of total precipitation so far during 2012 within the 
High Knob Massif - City of Norton area.

City of Norton
Monthly Precipitation Totals
Observers: Norton Water Plant Staff

2012
January: 4.11"
February: 5.77"
March: 7.87"
April: 5.54"
May: 3.97"
June: 2.79"
July: 10.70"
August: 8.11"
September: 6.11"
October: 4.58"
November: 1.26"
December 1-11: 2.22"

2012 Total: 63.03"
( General 60.00" to 70.00" in High Knob Massif )

Total Since January 1, 2011: 139.49"
( General 140.00" to 150.00"+ in High Knob Massif )

Meanwhile, in rather dramatic contrast, 64% of the 
Old Dominion was classified as abnormally dry by the most recent USA Drought Monitor, with 36% of Virginia in a Moderate Drought!


City of Roanoke
Monthly Precipitation Totals
Observer: National Weather Service

2012
January: 1.69"
February: 2.21"
March: 3.52"
April: 3.04"
May: 4.03"
June: 3.25"
July: 3.14"
August: 3.94"
September: 3.60"
October: 1.30"
November: 0.61"
December 1-13: 0.03"

2012 Total: 30.36"

Total Since January 1, 2011: 75.39"

Differences between Norton and Roanoke are striking, with 32.67" less precipitation in Roanoke during 2012 and 64.10" ( 5.3 FEET ) less since the beginning of 2011.

Spring Hollow Reservoir was 26.6 feet below its spillway on December 15, with Carvins Cove down 7.8 feet below full capacity.

Western Virginia Water Authority ( Roanoke Area )

Some places have been drier than Roanoke, with Danville reporting only 26.71" of precipitation in 2012 and 63.99" since the beginning of 2011.

December 4, 2012
Tennessee Valley Divide
Dawn Of An Early December Day
Photograph by Genevie Riner - © All Rights Reserved.


Additional Precipitation Totals
( January 1 to December 13, 2012 )

2012

Danville: 26.71"

Lynchburg: 27.22"

South Boston: 27.90"

Washington National Airport: 29.71"

Brookneal: 30.42"

Christiansburg: 31.77"

Staffordsville 3 ENE: 32.50"

Washington Dulles Airport: 32.95"

Rocky  Mount: 33.11"

Richmond: 33.91"

Galax WTP: 33.92"

Blacksburg: 34.24"

Gathright Dam: 34.64"

Glasgow 1 SE: 35.76"

Copper Hill: 35.81"

Hot Springs: 36.49"

Pulaski: 36.58"

Martinsville FP: 36.98"

Covington FP: 38.32"

Wytheville 1 S: 39.54"

Trout Dale 3 SSE: 40.53"

Bluefield ( WV ): 41.29"

Clintwood 1 W: 41.77"

Burkes Garden: 42.80"

Norfolk: 44.01"

Lebanon: 44.30"

Saltville 1 N: 44.38"

Stuart: 44.49"

Wallops Island: 45.31"

Richlands: 50.20"

Meadows of Dan 5 SW: 53.91"

Towns around the High Knob Massif had all observed above average 2012 precipitation, with more than 58.00" reported ( as of December 13 ) 
at Appalachia Lake WP, Big Stone Gap WP, and Coeburn FP in Wise County, Virginia. 


Geminids Show 2012
Upon A Starry Night

December 14, 2012
Powell Valley Overlook of High Knob Massif
Beauty Shots During The Geminids Show
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

Conditions were ideal in 2012 for viewing the annual Geminids Meteor Shower.  My friend and photographer Roddy Addington captured the show from Powell Valley Overlook in Wise County as traffic along U.S. 23, and lights from Big Stone Gap and Powell Valley, added interesting contrast to starry vastness!

December 14, 2012
Looking Toward Big Stone Gap
Beauty Shots During The Geminids Show
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

At a time of year when snow and bitter cold can be gripping the mountain landscape, conditions were seasonally mild ( 20s and 30s ) during this Geminids Show of 2012.

December 14, 2012
Big Stone Gap Illuminates Lower Horizon
Geminids Meteor Streaking Through Starry Space
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

The Geminids originate from an asteroid named 3200 Phaethon, with an orbital pathway that will bring it much closer to Earth in coming decades 
( especially by 2093 ).

December 14, 2012
Powell Valley Overlook of High Knob Massif
Wishing Upon A Shooting Star ( Meteor to Left )
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

Geminids have different colors, with this next one being distinctly red ( no Photoshop ) as it streaked above the High Knob Massif.

December 14, 2012
A Red Geminids Meteor
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.



History Of Christmases Past
Waiting On Winter In 2012

December 16, 2012
Water Elevation 2734 feet
Bark Camp Lake of High Knob Massif
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

What is the one thing missing from 
the above scene?

SNOW, of course!

It's December not October.
( Is Mother Nature mixed up or what? ).

While snow is nearly certain to fall in coming days, will timing & amounts be right for at least 1" to be on the ground come 7:00 AM Christmas morning 
( fulfilling the NWS definition of a White Christmas )?

Majesty Of Winter In The High Knob Massif

A week before the big day the answer to that question is about as clear as it's been in the 
High Knob Massif during the past few days!

( Check the Update below )

December 16, 2012
High Knob Massif Crest Zone - In The Clouds
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

Yes, a road is actually there!

December 16, 2012
High Knob Massif Crest Zone
Darkness Amid The AFTERNOON
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

While this is being pondered, by both man and computer model, here is a link to conditions during the past 49 Christmases in the local mountains.

( With Credits To Many Observers )

( Updated December 24, 2012 )
Blocking signals and models are offering up the potential for EXTREME weather events in the eastern USA on Christmas and the weekend that follows ( high impacts to MILLIONS of people ).

Timing was OFF in 2012 for a White Christmas locally, with chilly rain on Christmas Eve day.  
No more new snow is expected until later on December 26 into December 27.

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