Saturday, January 4, 2014

Arctic Cold Waves of Early January 2014


January 4, 2014
Upper Falls of Little Stony Creek Gorge
Majestic Beauty Of Winter In High Knob Massif
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.


When winter arrives the High Knob Massif can 
be simply wicked, but there is no denying the awesome majesty that also comes with this 
season of snow, ice, water, and wind!

January 4, 2014
Upper Tennessee River Basin
Tumbling Whitewater of Little Stony Gorge
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

Rod Addington Photography

A wet winter has whitewater tumbling and lakes overflowing across this great massif rising between the ecologically rich Powell & Clinch rivers of the Upper Tennessee River Basin.

January 4, 2014
Water Elevation 2734 feet
Northern Scott County, Virginia
Bark Camp Lake of High Knob Massif
Bitter Morn In High Valley of Bark Camp Lake
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

While flowing water is already being transformed into solid forms, the coldest air mass in at least two decades will soon freeze all but the most swift of tumbling steep creeks. 

January 4, 2014
High Knob Massif
The Battle Begins Between Liquid & SOLID
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

Air has already been so cold, and will become MUCH colder, that any place water slows it will be claimed in coming days by icy forms which often defy mere description. 

January 4, 2014
Remnant Massif of High Knob Landform
A Limb Allows Water To Be Claimed By ICE
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

A majestic struggle Royale!

January 4, 2014
High Knob Massif
The Hand Of OLE MAN Winter At Work
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

Unique details captured via the lens of gifted 
photographer named Roddy Addington.

January 4, 2013
High Knob Massif
Wondrous Crystal Growth With Ice & Water
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

Wonders Never Cease To Amaze!

January 4, 2014
High Knob Massif
Amazing Crystal Growth On Icicle
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

Winter wonderland conditions, featuring snow 
and rime, have blanketed upper elevations in the High Knob Massif during much of the time since Christmas Eve Day, with notable exception of the post-Christmas Day rainstorm. 

January 3, 2014
Upper Elevations of High Knob Massif
Significant Snow & Rime Along State Route 619
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

The BEAUTY has been Stunning!

January 3, 2014
Amid The High Knob High Country
Majestic Rime Coated Trees & Snow Near Sunset
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

MIN temperatures during this first Arctic Blast dipped to around -1 degree below zero at the summit level of the High Knob Massif into morning hours of January 3.

The first light rays upon this pristine, arctic snow
were simply spectacular on Eagle Knob as they
finally broke through mountain wave clouds.

January 3, 2014 at 9:18 AM
Eagle Knob of High Knob Massif
First Rays of Light Through Mountain Waves
Photograph by Steve Blankenbecler - © All Rights Reserved.

Wind chill factors during this first arctic blast dipped to -10 to -15 degrees below zero in Wise, with chill values of -20 to -30+ below ( Fahrenheit ) being common above 3000 feet in the High Knob Massif.

Other Observed Minimums
( January 3-4, 2013 )

Black Mountain ARC
1 degree

Nora 4 SSE
5 degrees

City of Norton AWS
6 degrees

Clintwood 1 W
7 degrees

Some of the most intense snow fell along the Arctic Front, with visibility dropping to less than 0.2 mile in Wise between 8:00 & 9:00 PM on January 2.

January 2, 2013 at 8:53 PM
University of Virginia's College In Wise
Heavy Snow With Arctic Cold Front In Wise
Courtesy of Alex Edwards & Computer-Math Department

A general 3-6" of snow accumulated across the High Knob Massif from the base at the City of Norton WP to High Chaparral and High Knob during this first arctic blast.

January 3, 2014 at 1:17 PM
Eagle Knob of High Knob Massif
Winter Wonderland Conditions Atop Eagle Knob
Photograph by Steve Blankenbecler - © All Rights Reserved.

January 3 was a bitter day both before 
and after mountain wave clouds cleared.

Elevation 2141 feet
City of Norton AWS for January 3, 2014

Morning of January 3, 2013
Long Ridge of Tennessee Valley Divide
The Cold Northwest Wind & Mountain Waves
Photograph by Wayne Riner - © All Rights Reserved.

Wayne Riner Photograph Thoughts...
The very cold northwest wind blows the brown grass.  Bitter temps have frozen the ponds and 
tells us of days to come.

Elevation 2650 feet
January 3, 2014 ( 7 AM to 11:30 PM )
Nora 4 SSE Automated Weather Station
Courtesy of Wayne & Genevie Riner

Morning of January 3, 2014
Long Ridge of Tennessee Valley Divide
Waiting For Warmer Days In The Highlands
Photograph by Wayne Riner - © All Rights Reserved.

Wayne Riner Photograph Thoughts...
During the summer, chickadees had made a home for their new family.  Now it seems so long ago.

Late Afternoon of January 3, 2014
Looking West Toward Black Mountain
In The High Cumberlands of Wise County, Virginia
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

Evening temperatures dropped back into single digits amid snow covered mountain valleys while exposed mid-upper elevation ridges saw a small warming ( but with increasing winds and wind chills that negated the temperature rise ).



( January 3, 2013 )
NASA Visible Imagery
Mountain Waves, Snowstreaks,
and Snow Shadows

Time Series Of Images

Click consecutively in picture viewer for motion

NASA Visible Image At 8:15 AM January 3, 2014

NASA Visible Image At 8:15 AM January 3, 2014

NASA Visible Image At 8:32 AM January 3, 2014

NASA Visible Image At 8:45 AM January 3, 2014

NASA Visible Image At 9:02 AM January 3, 2014

NASA Visible Image At 9:15 AM January 3, 2014

NASA Visible Image At 9:32 AM January 3, 2014

NASA Visible Image At 9:45 AM January 3, 2014

NASA Visible Image At 10:15 AM January 3, 2014

NASA Visible Image At 10:45 AM January 3, 2014

NASA Visible Image At 11:02 AM January 3, 2014

NASA Visible Image At 11:02 AM January 3, 2014

Counties Overlay For Reference
NASA Visible Image At 11:02 AM January 3, 2014

NASA Visible Image At 11:15 AM January 3, 2014

NASA Visible Image At 11:32 AM January 3, 2014

NASA Visible Image At 11:45 AM January 3, 2014

NASA Visible Image At 12:02 PM January 3, 2014

NASA Visible Image At 12:02 PM January 3, 2014

NASA Visible Image At 12:15 PM January 3, 2014

Counties Overlay For Reference
NASA Visible Image At 12:15 PM January 3, 2014

NASA Visible Image At 12:32 PM January 3, 2014

NASA Visible Image At 12:45 PM January 3, 2014

NASA Visible Image At 12:45 PM January 3, 2014


Inside The Snow Shadow
Examples From Inside The Red Zone Above

January 3, 2014 at 1:26 PM
Cumberland Square Park In Bristol, Virginia

January 3, 2014 at 1:27 PM
Bristol Motor Speedway ( Bristol, Tennessee )

January 3, 2014 at 1:27 PM
State of Franklin In Johnson City, Tennessee

January 3, 2014 at 1:28 PM
Rogersville ES In Rogersville, Tennessee



January 6-8, 2014
Arctic Blast Number 2
Barbaric Cold

January 5, 2014
Before The Barbaric Blast
Mountain Waves Above The High Cumberlands
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

Photographer Roddy Addington captured dramatic mountain wave clouds above the great Cumberland Mountain Overthrust Block near sunset January 5, foreshadowing dramatic weather changes to come!

January 5, 2014
Birch Knob of Pine Mountain
Mountain Waves Accentuate Gorgeous Sunset
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

The coldest air mass since the mid-1990's brought rain, ROARing wind, a flash freeze, snow, rime, and purely barbaric wind chill factors that included up to 18 or more consecutive hours of sub-zero temperatures at mid-upper elevations.

Temperatures in the City of Norton plunged from 43 degrees at Midnight January 6 down to the Golden Goose Egg, of 0 degrees, 
by 4:30 PM in the afternoon.

Elevation 2141 feet
City of Norton AWS for January 6, 2014

This marked the start of 18 consecutive hours with Sub-Zero temperatures, finally featuring a "balmy" afternoon MAX on January 7 of 7.6 ( 8 ) degrees!

Elevation 2141 feet
City of Norton AWS for January 7, 2014

Temperatures actually "warmed" to 9 degrees during the middle overnight period of January 8 before dropping to 3 degrees by sunrise in the City of Norton.

More sheltered mountain valleys, with respect to SW winds,
again fell to 0 degrees and below ( e.g., Tacoma-Coeburn Valley and Clintwood 1 W ).

Elevation 2141 feet
City of Norton AWS for January 8, 2014

Elevation 2141 feet
( Midnight to 1:00 PM )
City of Norton AWS for January 9, 2014

Temperatures in the City of Norton remained at freezing or below for 81 consecutive hours between 1:30 AM January 6 and 10:30 AM January 9.


Air Temperatures ( Not Wind Chills )
Minimum Temperatures
Morning of January 7, 2013
( All In Fahrenheit Degrees Below Zero )

-18 degrees
High Knob Massif
( summit level temperature )

-17 degrees
Black Mountain ARC
( summit level temperature )

-13 degrees
Robinson Knob of High Knob Massif
( Robinson Knob Community )

-13 degrees
Flatwoods Mountain, Ky
( Kentucky MesoNet Site )

-10 degrees
Town of Wise
( U.S. Forest Service RAWS )

-10 degrees
Nora 4 SSE
( Long Ridge of Sandy Ridge )

-9 to -10 degrees
City of Norton

-6 degrees
Clintwood 1 W

-6 degrees
Jonesville
( WJNV-FM AWS )

-3 degrees
St. Paul
( St. Paul AWS )

Getting to the heart of this barbaric air mass was rather dramatic with evening rain January 5 giving way to ROARING gusts of tree limb breaking wind just after Midnight, into January 6, as the first cold front reached the mountains.

Wind gusts from around 30 mph to 50+ mph were reported
across the region as this initial cold front pushed into the
western Appalachians.

Rain turned to snow around 12:28 AM January 6 on Eagle Knob of the High Knob Massif with a rapid drop in snow levels down to Clintwood 1 W 
by 1:40 AM ( a vertical drop of 2629 feet in the snow level in just over 1 hour ).

Much like during the first arctic blast, of January 2-3, a period of system snow gave way to a brief lull in activity in advance of the Arctic Front and heavier upslope snowfall.

January 6, 2014
Nora 4 SSE On Long Ridge ( Midnight to Noon )
Courtesy of Wayne & Genevie Riner

Wind chill factors in gusts began going sub-zero along mid-upper elevation mountain ridges before sunrise January 6, with passage of the Arctic Cold Front during the 5:00 AM to 6:00 AM period.

A little low-level cold air banking against the northwestern side of Pine Mountain, behind the Arctic Front, gave way to accelerated afternoon drops in both air temperatures and wind chill factors into the frigid realm.

Elevation 2650 feet
January 6, 2014 at 2:14 PM
-18 degrees Below Zero Wind Chill
Snow & Blowing Snow On Long Ridge
Photograph by Wayne Riner - © All Rights Reserved.

The air temperature reached 0 degrees 
at the elevation of Long Ridge by 4:00 PM.

January 6, 2014
Nora 4 SSE On Long Ridge ( Noon to 11:30 PM )
Courtesy of Wayne & Genevie Riner

The air temperature remained at or below
0 degrees for 19-20 consecutive hours.

January 7, 2014
Nora 4 SSE On Long Ridge ( Midnight to 1 PM )
Courtesy of Wayne & Genevie Riner

Long Ridge of Sandy Ridge
January 6, 2013 at 4:42 PM
-1 Below Zero With -25 Below Wind Chill
Bitter Cold Air & Winds Engulf The Highlands
Photograph by Wayne Riner - © All Rights Reserved.

Lowest observed wind chill factors reached 
between -30 and -40 degrees below zero 
( Fahrenheit ) within the 2600 to 2800 foot elevation zone of Long Ridge and Flatwoods Mountain, Ky., ( Pikeville 13S Mesonet adjacent to
Pine Mountain at 2774 feet elevation ).

January 3, 2014
Rime Capped Crestlines
Grindstone Ridge Dome of High Knob Massif
Photograph Courtesy of Rose Estep & WCYB Archive

Upper Elevations, above 3000 feet elevation, had wind chill factors estimated as low as -50+ degrees below zero ( via observed winds on Eagle Knob of the High Knob Massif ).

January 3, 2014 at 1:17 PM
Eagle Knob of High Knob Massif
Winter Wonderland Conditions Atop Eagle Knob
Photograph by Steve Blankenbecler - © All Rights Reserved.

Snow & riming were so similar during these two arctic events atop the High Knob Massif that side by side images, taken at about the same time on each day, are hard to tell apart.

January 7, 2014 at 1:15 PM
Eagle Knob of High Knob Massif
Winter Wonderland Conditions Atop Eagle Knob
Photograph by Steve Blankenbecler - © All Rights Reserved.

Each event produced around 6" of snow at the summit level, with variable ground depths amid blowing and drifting in many places.


( January 7, 2013 )
NASA Visible Imagery

Time Series Of Images

Click consecutively in picture viewer for motion

NASA Visible Image At 9:02 AM January 7, 2014

NASA Visible Image At 9:15 AM January 7, 2014

NASA Visible Image At 9:30 AM January 7, 2014

NASA Visible Image At 9:45 AM January 7, 2014

NASA Visible Image At 10:15 AM January 7, 2014

Counties Overlay For Reference
NASA Visible Image At 10:15 AM January 7, 2014

NASA Visible Image At 10:59 AM January 7, 2014

NASA Visible Image At 11:15 AM January 7, 2014

Counties Overlay For Reference
NASA Visible Image At 11:15 AM January 7, 2014

Although portions of the Great Valley did get 0.5" to 1" of snow during this event, it was again short-lived in the Tri-Cities with another large contrast between windward and leeward locations
across the mountains.

January 7, 2014 at 1:23 PM
On The Windward Side Of The Mountains
University of Virginia's College In Wise
Courtesy of Alex Edwards & Computer-Math Department

Views From The Lee Side
( Also Similar to January 3, 2014 )

January 7, 2014 at 1:25 PM
Cumberland Square Park In Bristol, Virginia

January 7, 2014 at 1:26 PM
Bristol Motor Speedway ( Bristol, Tennessee )

January 7, 2014 at 1:26 PM
State of Franklin In Johnson City, Tennessee

January 7, 2014 at 1:27 PM
Rogersville ES In Rogersville, Tennessee



Climate Statistics
New Year Opens Bitter
( Climate Numbers for January 1-9, 2014 )

January 7, 2014
Wise County Side of Black Mountain
Snow & Ice Covered State Route 160
Photograph Courtesy of John Varner
( East Stone Gap VDOT )

( Lower Elevations of Russell Fork Basin )
Clintwood 1 W - Elevation 1560 feet
Average Daily MAX: 33.3 degrees
Average Daily MIN: 7.4 degrees
January 1-9 MEAN: 20.4 degrees
Highest Temperature: 49 degrees
Lowest Temperature: -6 degrees
Total Jan 1-9 Precipitation: 0.59"
Total January 1-9 Snowfall: 5.8"
Snow Depth Days of 1" or More: 7

( Northern Base of High Knob Massif )
City of Norton - Elevation 2141 feet
Average Daily MAX: 30.3 degrees
Average Daily MIN: 5.6 degrees
January 1-9 MEAN: 18.0 degrees
Highest Temperature: 47 degrees
Lowest Temperature: -7 to -10 degrees
Consecutive Hours Below Zero: 18
Consecutive Hours Below 32: 81
Total Jan 1-9 Precipitation: 1.09"
Total January 1-9 Snowfall: 5.3"
Snow Depth Days of 1" or More: 7 

( Along the Tennessee Valley Divide )
Nora 4 SSE - Elevation 2650 feet
Average Daily MAX: 32.0 degrees
Average Daily MIN: 10.3 degrees
January 1-9 MEAN: 21.2 degrees
Highest Temperature: 47 degrees
Lowest Temperature: -10 degrees
Consecutive Hours Below Zero: 20
Consecutive Hours Below 32: 75
Total Jan 1-9 Precipitation: 0.68"
Total January 1-9 Snowfall: 4.4"
Snow Depth Days of 1" or More: 6

While highest elevations were coldest during the advection periods of the arctic blasts ( when cold air was being transported into the mountains ), coldest mean conditions have been in mid-upper elevation mountain valleys and places with northern exposures and snow cover.

The City of Norton Water Plant exemplified this with a Mean Daily MAX during January 1-9 of 28.8 degrees [ when calculating the MEAN temperature through the first 12 days of January there is only a 0.6 degree Fahrenheit difference between Norton WP & Norton AWS, with Norton WP cooler by day and Norton AWS cooler by night ( as has always been observed in the mean )].

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