Thursday, February 18, 2016

Winter Majesty In High Knob Massif - Feb 2016


February 17, 2016
High Knob Massif
Snow-Rime And Frozen Lake Surface
Winter Majesty At Upper Norton Reservoir
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

Conditions were simply spectacular amid upper elevations in the High Knob Massif during the late afternoon hours of February 17, following the latest winter storm and prolonged rime formation.



The Appalachian Climate Center

February 17, 2016
High Knob Massif
Snow-Rime And Frozen Lake Surface
Winter Majesty At Upper Norton Reservoir
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

It has been another wet winter in the High Knob Massif with a general 22.00" to 24.00"+ of total precipitation ( rain+frozen forms ) during the December 1 to February 16 period.  

Big Cherry Lake Dam
Monthly Precipitation Totals
Observer: Gary Hampton
Water Elevation 3120 feet

2015

January: 2.87"

February: 8.07"

March: 8.13"

April: 6.13"

May: 1.51"

June: 5.73"

July: 10.01"

August: 3.70"

September: 6.06"

October: 7.21"

November: 4.81"

December 10.45"

2015 Total: 74.68"

2016

*January: 7.43"

*February 1-16: 5.03"

2016 Total: 12.46"
( January 1 to February 16 )

December 1-February 16: 22.91"
( Average Per Month: 8.81" )

Orographic Forcing Season: 34.93"
( October 1, 2015 to February 16, 2016 )

Total Past 12-Months: 79.24" ( M )
( February 2015 - January 2016 )

( * ) - Indicates total is a combination of hand-measured rain
gauge totals and snow core data.  Approximately 8.70" fell in
the heads of Big Cherry Lake & High Knob Lake basins during
the month of January 2016.

( M ) - Indicates missing data due to evaporation between
hand-measurements throughout the year and from losses in
deep snowfall during the cold season.

The Big Stony Creek stream gage graph reveals how winter wetness has kept the whitewater rolling out of the high country of the High Knob Massif.

December 1 to February 16
Big Stony Creek Stream Gage

Melt water from significant snowpacks has dominated the flow since January 24, with early February rain also helping to extend the run-off period ( whitewater gushing in the 2-3 foot range and pounding the ground at levels near and above the Red Alert Stage of 4 feet ).

January 24 to February 16
Big Stony Creek Stream Gage

February 17, 2016
High Knob Massif
Slick Road Conditions In Upper Elevations
State Route 619 At Upper Norton Reservoir
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

State Route 619 was in good condition up to below the Flag Rock Recreation Area intersection, above which it became increasingly snow-ice covered.

Late Afternoon of February 17, 2016
Near Boat Launch - Water Elevation 3318 feet
Winter Majesty At Upper Norton Reservoir
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

February 17, 2016
Upper Elevations of Benges Basin
Winter Majesty At Upper Norton Reservoir
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

Moisture was still being extracted from 
clouds at upper elevations in sub-freezing air.

February 17, 2016
Water Elevation 3318 feet
Water Capturing Wonder of High Knob Massif
Frozen Lake Surface And Orographic Clouds
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

A general 4" to 12"+ of snow depth remains above 2500 feet, so there is much water yet to be released into steep creeks draining the great massif.

February 17, 2016
Water Elevation 3318 feet
Water Capturing Wonder of High Knob Massif
Frozen Lake Surface And Orographic Clouds
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

February 17, 2016
Upper Elevations of Benges Basin
Winter Majesty At Upper Norton Reservoir
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

February 17, 2016
Upper Elevations of Benges Basin
Winter Majesty At Upper Norton Reservoir
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

February 17, 2016
Upper Elevations of Benges Basin
Winter Majesty At Upper Norton Reservoir
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

February 17, 2016
Upper Elevations of Benges Basin
Winter Majesty At Upper Norton Reservoir
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

February 17, 2016
Upper Elevations of Benges Basin
Winter Majesty At Upper Norton Reservoir
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

February 17, 2016
Upper Elevations of Benges Basin
Winter Majesty At Upper Norton Reservoir
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

February 17, 2016
Upper Elevations of Benges Basin
Winter Majesty At Upper Norton Reservoir
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

February 17, 2016
Upper Elevations of Benges Basin
Winter Majesty At Upper Norton Reservoir
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

The riming level dropped down to near the base of the massif along northern slopes during this event, with rime formation in the Town of Wise remaining well into the day before dropping off trees.

February 17, 2016
Town of Wise, Virginia
Morning Rime On The Wise Plateau
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

By late afternoon trees at stream level in Legion Park were mostly free of rime, but barely as the riming was visible on all sides just above the whitewater creeks.

February 17, 2016
Middle Elevations
City of Norton Watershed and Park
Beauty Along Legion Park-Flag Rock Trail
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

During the summer breeding season this is a good area 
to hear Veery Thrushes ( Catharus fuscescens ) singing at atypically low elevations, amid drainages that funnel cold air downward from upper elevations in the High Knob Massif.

February 17, 2016
Along Legion Park Trail
Benges Basin of High Knob Massif
Whitewater Rolls On Robinette Branch
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

Beautiful Yellow Birch, lichens covered Beech and mossy spirals of dead Canadian Hemlock trees are along the Legion Park trail which runs along a nice whitewater creek draining extreme western sections of Benges Basin.

February 17, 2016
Middle Elevations of Benges Basin
Beautiful Yellow Birch ( Betula alleghaniensis )
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

February 17, 2016
Along Legion Park Trail
Mossy Hemlock Tree Spiral Across Creek
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

February 17, 2016
Middle Elevations of Benges Basin
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

February 17, 2016
Benges Basin of High Knob Massif
Beautiful Yellow Birch In Northern Woods
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

February 17, 2016
Middle Elevations
City of Norton Watershed and Park
Beauty Along Legion Park-Flag Rock Trail
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

February 17, 2016
Middle Elevations
City of Norton Watershed and Park
Beauty Along Legion Park-Flag Rock Trail
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

February 17, 2016
Powell River Watershed of High Knob Massif
Whitewater On Robinette Branch of Benges Basin
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

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