Monday, November 3, 2014

First Significant Winter Storm Of 2014-15 Season


Elevation 4223 feet
November 2, 2014 at 8:07 AM
Looking Across High Knob Lake Basin
High Knob Lake Shines Amid Rime Forest
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved.

The surface of High Knob Lake shines near center of above photograph as the bright white area beneath rime covered ridges.  The southeastern edge of the massif's sprawling crest, known as Osborne Ridge, rises toward low hanging cloud bases in the distance.

The High Knob Landform

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The Appalachian Climate Center

This documents a journey to photograph the first winter storm of 2014-15 in the high country of the High Knob Massif.  A gorgeous sunrise, icy roads, brutal cold, orographic cap clouds, rime, snow, and pure majesty filled this Sunday adventure.


Flag Rock Recreation Area
City of Norton Park  

Elevation 3200 feet
November 2, 2014 at 7:01 AM
View From Flag Rock Recreation Area
Majestic Contrast Between Autumn & Winter
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved.

Little Stone Mountain Gap, the dark gap near right of scene where visible rime-snow abruptly ends, is where U.S. 23 passes between Norton and Powell Valley near Powell Valley Overlook.

My friend & photographer Roddy Addington and I knew this trip was going to be a winner when the first stop of the morning offered a gorgeous sunrise and striking contrast between the seasons.

Elevation 3200 feet
November 2, 2014 at 7:02 AM
View From Flag Rock Recreation Area
Majestic Contrast Between Autumn & Winter
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved.

Although below cloud bases, which were still engulfing higher sections of the massif, it did not take long to also figure out that this was going to be a very COLD job as fingers numbed at Flag Rock.

Elevation 3200 feet
November 2, 2014 at 7:06 AM
View From Flag Rock Recreation Area
Majestic Contrast Between Autumn & Winter
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved.

Elevation 3200 feet
November 2, 2014 at 7:08 AM
View From Flag Rock Recreation Area
Sunrise Above The Rugged Cumberlands
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved.

Rays of sunlight illuminated small sections of 
Little Stone Mountain, in the foreground, and Black Mountain in the distance, to enhance the beauty of this view. 

Elevation 3200 feet
November 2, 2014 at 7:08 AM
View From Flag Rock Recreation Area
Little Stone Mountain of High Knob Massif
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved.

November 2, 2014
Roddy Addington HDR Photograph
Morning Sunrise From Flag Rock Recreation Area
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

Rod Addington Photography

Elevation 3200 feet
November 2, 2014 at 7:12 AM
View From Flag Rock Recreation Area
Lower Northern Slope of High Knob Massif
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved.

Elevation 3200 feet
November 2, 2014 at 7:13 AM
View From Flag Rock Recreation Area
Looking Across Hoot-Owl Hollow Of Massif
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved.

Elevation 3200 feet
November 2, 2014 at 7:13 AM
View From Flag Rock Recreation Area
Looking Across Hoot-Owl Hollow Of Massif
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved.

Elevation 3200 feet
November 2, 2014 at 7:13 AM
View From Flag Rock Recreation Area
Rugged Hoot-Owl Hollow Spur Ridge
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved.

The best light during the morning & evening is fleeting, and it pays not to waste time when it comes to getting the best shots if that type of 
light is your favorite.

Elevation 3200 feet
November 2, 2014 at 7:14 AM
View From Flag Rock Recreation Area
Majestic Contrast Between Autumn & Winter
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved.


Crest Zone of Massif
High Knob Lookout Tower

Elevation 4223 feet
November 2, 2014 at 8:00 AM
Looking Across High Knob Lake Basin
Up In The Clouds At High Knob Lookout
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved.

Visibility, light, clouds, bitter cold wind chills, all became a problem upon climbing upward into the clouds to the High Knob Lookout, where snow was wind swept but deeper than lower down and rime simply gorgeous when breaking out of the clouds.

Elevation 4223 feet
November 2, 2014 at 8:05 AM
Looking Across High Knob Lake Basin
Northern Raven Being Chased By Flock Of Birds
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved.

Although hard to make out visually in this size of photo, a croaking Northern Raven ( Corvus corax ) was being chased by a small flock of birds ( to the lower right of my copyright ).

Elevation 4223 feet
November 2, 2014 at 8:10 AM
Heavy Rime Along High Knob Meadow
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved.

It was difficult to see at times until periodic holes began to finally open up these orographic clouds forming on strong, gusty upsloping N-NNW winds.

Elevation 4223 feet
November 2, 2014 at 8:17 AM
Some Holes Finally Open In Upslope Clouds
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved.

Elevation 4223 feet
November 2, 2014 at 8:19 AM
Rime Covered Head of Big Cherry Lake Basin
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved.

Elevation 4223 feet
November 2, 2014 at 8:22 AM
Crest Zone of High Knob Massif
Rime BLAZES In Morning Sunlight
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved.

A serious BLAZE factor emerged as sunlight finally struck the summit, revealing portions of this great RIME FOREST which covers many square miles of the sprawling High Knob Massif.

The cloud shrouded Big Cherry Lake Basin set these views off with a strong contrast between blazing rime and it's background darkness.

Elevation 4223 feet
November 2, 2014 at 8:22 AM
Crest Zone of High Knob Massif
Rime BLAZES In Morning Sunlight
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved.

Elevation 4223 feet
November 2, 2014 at 8:22 AM
Crest Zone of High Knob Massif
Rime & Wind Blown Snow At Lookout
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved.

Elevation 4223 feet
November 2, 2014 at 8:25 AM
Head of Big Cherry Lake Basin
A Little More Revelation Amid Upslope Clouds
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved.

Elevation 4223 feet
November 2, 2014 at 8:25 AM
A Huge Chunk Of High Country Appears
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved.

Elevation 4223 feet
November 2, 2014 at 8:26 AM
Miles Of Rime & Snow Covered High Country
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved.

Elevation 4223 feet
November 2, 2014 at 8:26 AM
Changing Light Amid Orographic Cap Clouds
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved.

By this point in time it began to get serious, that is the pain in my hands & face against 0 degree wind chill factors ( air temps in the upper 10s to around 20 degrees with 20-30 mph North winds ).

*I had gloves but could not work the shutter good with them on all the time.  It was so windy that leaving the camera standing by itself on a tripod was not safe, and conditions so come-and-go with visibility that taking shots on the fly was the only productive way.  Using my remote control release with the camera on a tripod would have been ideal, but conditions were just not conducive here.

Elevation 4223 feet
November 2, 2014 at 8:27 AM
Classic Postcard Winter Shot In Autumn!
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved.

Elevation 4223 feet
November 2, 2014 at 8:29 AM
Looking Across Grindstone Ridge Dome
Rime-Snow Covered Head of Big Cherry Basin
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved.

Elevation 4223 feet
November 2, 2014 at 8:32 AM
High Knob Lookout Tower View
Sunlight "Lights Up" Distance Crestline
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved.

It is simply amazing how distant trees can barely show rime until the sun "lights them up."  Incredible!

Elevation 4223 feet
November 2, 2014 at 8:33 AM
High Knob Lookout Tower View
Big Cherry Basin-Powell Mountain Block
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved.


High Knob Lake Basin

November 2, 2014 at 8:49 AM
Head of High Knob Lake Basin
Significant Snow-Rime Along Icy Route 238
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved.

November 2, 2014 at 8:49 AM
Head of High Knob Lake Basin
Significant Snow-Rime Along Icy Route 238
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved.

November 2, 2014
Majestic Head of High Knob Lake Basin
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved.

I took a snow core in Head of High Knob Lake Basin where I like to measure snow when air flows have northern components, and obtained 0.93" of water content ( * ).

*This snow core does not include the rain-snow that fell and melted before sticking began.  It was also not contaminated by rime drop from trees, as the photographs reveal, but likely was full of rimed snowflakes given persistent orographic clouds that engulfed upper elevations during this event.

This meant that more than 10" of snow fell since the snow density was less ( snow to water ratio higher ) than 10:1 amid these upper elevations where air temps from the surface upward were much colder than at lower elevations.

November 2, 2014 at 8:50 AM
Majestic Head of High Knob Lake Basin
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved.

I made dozens of snow depth measurements which varied from wind swept ground to around 14", with rime accumulations of 1-3" being common on trees.

November 2, 2014
Crest Zone of High Knob Massif
Measuring Snow Depth In Upper Elevations
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved.

November 2, 2014 at 8:51 AM
Majestic Head of High Knob Lake Basin
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved.


Little Stony Creek Valley
Bark Camp Lake

Driving east from High Knob Lake Basin the snow and rime was abundant until dropping downward into the Little Stony Creek Valley, where much less was seen at Bark Camp Lake.

Water Elevation 2734 feet
November 2, 2014 at 9:51 AM
Bark Camp Lake of High Knob Massif
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved.

Despite having a water elevation of 2734 feet above sea level, the lake is nearly 1500 vertical feet lower in elevation than the summit of the High Knob Massif.  The Little Stony Creek Valley can have considerable downslope flow when winds blow from the W-NW.

Water Elevation 2734 feet
November 2, 2014 at 9:51 AM
Bark Camp Lake of High Knob Massif
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved.

Oaks trees near the Lake still retained some color.

Reference This Section For More Photographs:
Blaze Of Rime Follows Wet December 2014 Opening

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