Friday, January 31, 2014

Domain Of The COLD Places & JAN 2014 Stats


January 30, 2014
Elevation 2180 feet
Little Stony Gorge of High Knob Massif
Huge Mound Of Ice At Frozen Upper Falls
Photograph by Bill Harris - © All Rights Reserved.

The Upper Falls of Little Stony Creek Gorge drops around 30 feet, meaning that this mound of ice has approached nearly half that height amid the bitter days & nights of January 2014.


Clearing skies by predawn hours of January 29 generated a rapid temperature plummet, especially in mid-upper elevation mountain valleys of the High Knob Massif beneath a deep snowpack.

Snow has not been that deep in Little Stony Gorge; however, deeper snow amid upper portions of the watershed allows for generation of significant cold air which flows down through the high valleys leading into the gorge area.

January 30, 2014
Upper Tennessee River Basin
Jefferson National Forest of Clinch Ranger District
Frozen Creek-Waterfall Pool And Hoarfrost-Rime
Photograph by Bill Harris - © All Rights Reserved.

The minimum reached -13 degrees below zero at an elevation of 2141 feet in the City of Norton, which is approximately the same elevation as the 
Upper Falls in Little Stony Gorge.

Under conditions like these, coldest sections of the 16.4 square mile ( 10,515 acre ) Little Stony Creek watershed rest amid the Bark Camp Lake - Robinson Fork Wetlands area where a low gradient valley floor allows cold air to pool at an elevation of over 2700 feet above sea level.

The frozen water level at Bark Camp Lake is higher than most parts of the Wise Plateau, but in a valley that sits nearly 1500 vertical feet beneath the summit level of the High Knob Massif.

January 30, 2014
Little Stony Creek Gorge
Galax Plant ( Galax urceolata )
Delicate Crystals Grow Amid Bitter Air
Photograph by Bill Harris - © All Rights Reserved.

Stepping upward from Bark Camp Lake Basin are wetland valleys of Glady Fork, of the 41.9 square mile ( 26,816 acres ) Big Stony Creek Basin, where "The Glades" rest amid a open valley at 2900 feet above sea level in a notorious frost pocket.

Camping can be "chilly" in The Glades 
even during the middle of summer.

January 30, 2014
The Evergreen Galax ( Galax urceolata )
Galax Bearded With Delicate Crystals
Photograph by Bill Harris - © All Rights Reserved.

At the head of Mountain Fork of Big Stony Creek is lofty High Knob Lake Basin where the valley floor rests near 3500 feet above sea level.  Snow depths of around a foot, or locally more, have blanketed northern slopes of this area in late January.

January 31 marked Day Number 53 with 1" or more of snow depth across northern slopes of High Knob Lake Basin during Winter 2013-14.

A total of 26 out of 31 days had 1" or more of snow depth 
in the basin of High Knob Lake, and adjoining lofty basins of the massif, during January 2014.

January 30, 2014
Little Stony Creek Gorge
Ice Crystals Growing Upon Icicles
Photograph by Bill Harris - © All Rights Reserved.

Photographer Bill Harris said it was so cold 
that even the icicles were growing ice!

January 30, 2014
Little Stony Creek of Clinch River Basin
Remnant Massif of High Knob Landform
Frosty Icicles Growing Delicate Crystals!
Photograph by Bill Harris - © All Rights Reserved.

The largest upper elevation cold air drainages in the High Knob Massif are found amid headwaters of the 40.0 square mile ( 25,600 acres ) South Fork of the Powell River Basin, where Big Cherry Lake and adjoining wetland valleys rest between 3100 and 3200 feet above sea level.

The head of this basin has also been
covered by 6-12"+ of snow depth
( not including bigger drifts ).

Highlighting Different High Knob Massif Basins
Early Autumn Color Change Patterns In 2012

Unofficial reports, as well as official reports from the Burkes Garden Basin ( at 3068 feet above sea level with 2" of snow depth ), indicate that MINS during January 29-30 reached -15 to -20+ degrees below zero in these high valleys.

The lowest official minimum of -18 degrees below zero 
in Burkes Garden occurred with much less snow depth than in the High Knob Massif, suggesting that unofficial temps of -20 to -25 below zero did occur ( these would be the coldest MINS in the High Knob Massif since -32 degrees below zero was reported in February 1996 ).

January 29, 2014 at 12:22 PM
Roof-Top Elevation of 2600 feet
Looking Toward The High Knob Massif
University of Virginia's College In Wise
Courtesy of Computer Science-Mathematics Department

For the first time this winter conditions became favorable for strong cold air drainage and radiational cooling amid high mountain valleys during morning hours of both January 29 and January 30, following fresh snow, as previous such settings had been 
held back by strong winds and upslope clouds.

January 26, 2014
Clinch River Basin of High Knob Massif
Rugged Depths of Little Stony Creek Gorge
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.


Climate Statistics
For January 2014

( Lower Elevations of Russell Fork Basin )
Clintwood 1 W - Elevation 1560 feet
Average Daily MAX: 36.4 degrees
Average Daily MIN: 11.5 degrees
MEAN: 24.0 degrees
Highest Temperature: 54 degrees
Lowest Temperature: -6 degrees
Total Precipitation: 2.20"
Total Snowfall: 15.8"
Days With 1" or More Depth: 20
December-January Precipitation: 9.19"

( Northern Base of High Knob Massif )
City of Norton - Elevation 2141 feet
*Average Daily MAX: 33.2 degrees
Average Daily MIN: 9.2 degrees
MEAN: 21.2 degrees
Highest Temperature: 55 degrees
Lowest Temperature: -13 degrees
Total Precipitation: 3.40"
Total Snowfall: 20.8"
Days With 1" or More Depth: 21
December-January Precipitation: 12.25"
( General 13.00-14.00" High Knob Massif )

*Average Daily MAX: 31.9 degrees
at the City of Norton Water Plant

( Along the Tennessee Valley Divide )
Nora 4 SSE - Elevation 2650 feet
Average Daily MAX: 33.8 degrees
Average Daily MIN: 13.8 degrees
MEAN: 23.8 degrees
Highest Temperature: 56 degrees
Lowest Temperature: -10 degrees
Total Precipitation: 2.48"
Total Snowfall: 17.5"
Days With 1" or More Depth: 16
December-January Precipitation: 9.27"

January 2014 will go down as the coldest since January 1985 or January 1977, depending upon the location, with average temperatures in the upper 10s to lower 20s from the City of Norton upward across the High Knob Massif.

Average night-time minimums will be the coldest observed in January since 1977 with single digits to lower 10s being widespread in this area.  Lowest MINS observed during the month appear to be the coldest experienced since February 1996.

While January 2014 featured below average precipitation, due to anomalous coldness, snowfall was above average with totals varying from around 3 feet at the summit level of the High Knob Massif to 21" in the City of Norton.

Total January precipitation varied from 4.00" to 5.00" 
in the High Knob Massif to only around 2.00" to 2.50" across the Russell Fork Basin.

January 31, 2014
Long Ridge of Tennessee Valley Divide
Colorful But Bitter Sunrise Above The Highlands
Photograph by Wayne Riner - © All Rights Reserved.


The View From Space
High Resolution NASA Visible
January 29, 2014

Clear skies in the wake of sub-zero cold allowed 
for a pristine view of the Mountain Empire, and High Knob Landform, from the overhead passage of a NASA Terra Satellite.

Mountain Empire Centered
High Resolution NASA Visible Image
NASA Visible Earth - Snow & Ice In SE USA

High Knob Landform ( Inside Red )
High Resolution NASA Visible Image

From Bluegrass To Foothills To Mountains
Changing Topography From NW to SE & N to S


High Knob Massif
Mountain Wave Clouds
Conclude January 2014

A very nice display of mountain waves were forced by air flowing across the High Knob Massif toward the Wise Plateau during afternoon hours of January 31.

January 31, 2014 at 1:29 PM
Roof-Top Elevation of 2600 feet
Looking Toward The High Knob Massif
University of Virginia's College In Wise
Courtesy of Computer Science-Mathematics Department

January 31, 2014 at 1:36 PM
Looking Toward The High Knob Massif
University of Virginia's College In Wise
Courtesy of Computer Science-Mathematics Department

January 31, 2014 at 2:46 PM
A Flying Saucer Wave Cloud
Looking Toward The High Knob Massif
University of Virginia's College In Wise
Courtesy of Computer Science-Mathematics Department

Wave clouds above the High Knob Massif took 
the shape of a "flying saucer," at least briefly, as conditions on this day were not right for long-lived stationary mountain waves.

January 31, 2014 at 2:47 PM
Looking Toward The High Knob Massif
University of Virginia's College In Wise
Courtesy of Computer Science-Mathematics Department

January 31, 2014 at 2:48 PM
Looking Toward The High Knob Massif
University of Virginia's College In Wise
Courtesy of Computer Science-Mathematics Department

January 31, 2014 at 2:49 PM
Looking Toward The High Knob Massif
University of Virginia's College In Wise
Courtesy of Computer Science-Mathematics Department

January 31, 2014 at 2:50 PM
Looking Toward The High Knob Massif
University of Virginia's College In Wise
Courtesy of Computer Science-Mathematics Department

For Recent Wintry Scenes, Satellite Images,
and Mountain Waves reference the following:


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