Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Mid Autumn 2016 In The High Knob Massif


October 12, 2016
High Knob Lookout
Approaching Peak In High Country
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

This weekend ( October 15-16 ) through next week will offer some of the best color in upper elevations of the High Knob Massif ( above 2700-3000 feet ).  The termination of this peak COULD then hinge upon the possible development of a major autumn storm toward the October 20-22 period.  Scroll down for more recent views of color changes.

October 4, 2016
High Knob Massif
Autumn Color Changes In Upper Elevations
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

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October 2, 2016
High Knob Massif
Autumn Color Changes In Upper Elevations
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

Although the autumn color season is off to a slower 
than average start, some significant color changes are underway across upper elevations in the High Knob Massif where chilly temperatures have been observed since September 27.

An average nightly MIN of 51.6 degrees was recorded in high valleys of the Big Cherry Lake basin during the September 8-30 period ( the average MIN was 43.6 degrees during September 27-October 2, with average daily MAXS in the low-mid 60s ).

October 4, 2016
High Knob Massif
Water Reflections On Upper Norton Reservoir
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

October 2, 2016
High Knob Massif
Water Reflections On Big Cherry Lake
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

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

2016

January: 7.43"

February: 8.03"

March: 2.18"

April: 4.64"

May: 6.57"

June: 5.75"

July: 7.70"

August: 5.78"

*June 1-August 31: 19.23" ( M )
( Meteorological Summer 2016 )

September: 3.40"

2016 Total: 51.48" ( M )
**Up to 55.00"+ in Upper Valleys

Average Per Month: 5.72"
( January 1 to September 30 in 2016 )

*Only 2 hand-measurements were made at the Lake during
July, with 22 days in between them to result in significant
evaporation from the rain gauge ( likely more than 0.50" ).

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

October 4, 2016
Water Elevation 3318 feet ( when full )
Upper Norton Reservoir of High Knob Massif
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

While Summer 2016 had plenty of rainfall, autumn has been dry and lake levels are down.  The dual reservoir system for the City of Norton is lowest as it is difficult for this small reservoir system to keep pace with daily demand when dry spells develop.

Around 350,000 gallons of water per day is being pumped from Big Cherry Lake to help supplement the 470,000 gallons being taken out of the Norton Reservoir system each day.

October 4, 2016
High Knob Massif
Water Reflections On Upper Norton Reservoir
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

Big Cherry Lake has been in supplement mode for months, with extra water being released to augment flow on the Powell River as summer dryness quickly became significant toward the Tennessee border early in the summer season.

October 4, 2016
Upper Elevations of High Knob Massif
Autumn Color Changes - Northern Slopes
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

Much color is developing in upper elevations, especially across northern slopes and amid high basins, as seen via binoculars or a telephoto lens.  Colors do not yet have the pop that they typically get up here, after a few frosty nights, as frost has thus far been extremely limited with upper 30s to lower 40s being the lowest temperatures observed through October 4.

October 4, 2016
Upper Elevations of High Knob Massif
Autumn Color Changes - Northern Slopes
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

Note how seasonally cool conditions, with cold nights in high basins, has accelerated and also brightened colors in upper elevations of the High Knob Massif during the past week.  Some locally spectacular color is now on display above 2700-3000 feet.

October 12, 2016
Upper Elevations of High Knob Massif
Color Changes Brightening & Accelerating
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

October 12, 2016
Upper Elevations of High Knob Massif
Color Changes Brightening & Accelerating
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

A major reason color is so dependably spectacular in the massif year after year is due to a combination of factors.

Endemic, rich northern hardwoods within a mixed-mesophytic forest growing atop both calcareous and clastic stratas amid the wettest area in Virginia ( on average over the long-term ) are driving forces that are superimposed upon a sprawling mass of elevated terrain full of high basins ( wetland valleys, lakes, coves ) 
and complex terrain.

**Color is typically best below the highest crestlines which get wind blasted.  Trees lose leaves quickly and are dulled due to severe conditions.  Note that some trees are already bare or brown at highest elevations around High Knob.

October 12, 2016
Upper Elevations of High Knob Massif
Color Changes Brightening & Accelerating
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

October 12, 2016
Upper Elevations of High Knob Massif
Color Changes Brightening & Accelerating
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

October 12, 2016
Upper Elevations of High Knob Massif
Color Changes Brightening & Accelerating
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

October 12, 2016
Benges Basin of High Knob Massif
Autumn Color at Upper Norton Reservoir
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

October 12, 2016
Benges Basin of High Knob Massif
Autumn Color at Upper Norton Reservoir
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

October 12, 2016
Circular Polarizer + GND Filter
Legion Park In City of Norton
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

October 12, 2016
High Valleys of Big Cherry Basin
Majestic Yellow Birch ( Betula alleghaniensis )
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

October 12, 2016
High Knob Massif
Color In High Valleys of Big Cherry Basin
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

October 12, 2016
High Knob Massif
Color In High Valleys of Big Cherry Basin
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

October 12, 2016
Upper Tennessee River Basin
Autumn In Wetland Valleys of High Knob Massif
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

October 12, 2016
Upper Tennessee River Basin
Autumn In Wetland Valleys of High Knob Massif
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

October 12, 2016
High Knob Massif
Autumn Color In Upper Elevations
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

October 12, 2016
High Knob Massif
Approaching Sunset In Cumberland Mountains
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

October 12, 2016
High Knob Massif
Approaching Sunset In Cumberland Mountains
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

October 12, 2016
Approaching Sunset
Moon Rise Over High Knob Lookout
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

October 12, 2016
Approaching Sunset In High Knob Meadow
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

Although upper elevations in the High Knob Massif 
are more advanced, some color changes are underway across lower-middle elevations of the mountain area 
( e.g., along Pine Mountain ).

October 11, 2016
Autumn Along Pine Mountain
Beautiful Skies In Northern Dickenson County
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

October 11, 2016
Autumn Along Pine Mountain
Beautiful Skies In Northern Dickenson County
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

October 11, 2016
Along Pine Mountain
Precipitating Cirrus With Fall Streaks
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

October 11, 2016
Adam Childress Family Farm
Developing Color Along Pine Mountain
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved


High Knob Massif
Color Peaking Above 3000 Feet

October 16, 2016
Autumn Reflections In Norton Reservoir

Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

October 16, 2016
Northern Slopes of High Knob Massif
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

October 16, 2016
Big Cherry Lake Basin - Elevation 3200 feet
Autumn Within Fern Glade Of High Valleys

Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

October 16, 2016
 Elevation 3200 feet
High Valley Floor In Big Cherry Lake Basin
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

October 16, 2016
Northern Slopes of High Knob Massif
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

October 16, 2016
High Knob Massif
Majestic Pickem-Stone Mountain
View From Flag Rock Recreation Area
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

October 16, 2016
High Knob Massif
Majestic Pickem-Stone Mountain
View From Flag Rock Recreation Area
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

October 16, 2016
High Knob Massif - Elevation 3200 feet
Autumn Majesty In Flag Rock Recreation Area
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

October 16, 2016
Gusty Winds ( Temp In 60s )
High Knob Massif - Elevation 3200 feet
Autumn Majesty In Flag Rock Recreation Area
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

October 16, 2016
City of Norton Park
Autumn Beauty In Flag Rock Recreation Area
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

October 16, 2016
City of Norton Park
Autumn Beauty In Flag Rock Recreation Area
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

October 16, 2016
High Knob Massif
Near Sunset In Flag Rock Recreation Area
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

October 18, 2016
Cumberland Mountains
Milkweed ( Asclepias spp. ) Seed Pod
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

October 19, 2016
Cumberland Mountains
Aster ( Symphyotrichum spp. )
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

October 19, 2016
Lower Elevations - Cumberland Mountains
Virginia-creeper ( Parthenocissus quinquefolia )
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

October 19, 2016
Cumberland Mountains
Tulip-poplar Leaf ( Liriodendron tulipifera )
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

October 22, 2016
Beautiful Color On Campus
University Of Virginia's College At Wise
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

October 22, 2016
Beautiful Color On Campus
University Of Virginia's College At Wise
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

October 22, 2016
Beautiful Color On Campus
University Of Virginia's College At Wise
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

October 22, 2016
Beautiful Color On Campus
University Of Virginia's College At Wise
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved



Cedars Natural Area Preserve
1797 Acres In Lee County, Virginia

October 22, 2016
Native Grassland In The Cedars NAP
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

Located amid the core of the geologic Powell Valley Anticline and High Knob Landform is a unique karst landscape that supports one of the greatest assemblages of rare flora and fauna in Virginia and the southern Appalachians.

October 22, 2016
The Cedars Natural Area Preserve
Subterranean Water Emerges From A Cave
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

October 22, 2016
The Cedars Natural Area Preserve
Beautiful Water On Batie Creek
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

October 22, 2016
The Cedars Natural Area Preserve
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

October 22, 2016
The Cedars Natural Area Preserve
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

Subterranean ( below the surface ) ecosystems are intimately connected to surface features observed across The Cedars, with an array of caves, sinkholes, springs and sinking streams.

October 22, 2016
The Cedars Natural Area Preserve
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

October 22, 2016
The Cedars Natural Area Preserve
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

October 22, 2016
Natural Bridge of Lee County
The Cedars Natural Area Preserve
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

October 22, 2016
The Cedars Natural Area Preserve
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

October 22, 2016
A Globally And State Rare Species
Running Glade Clover ( Trifolium calcaricum )
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

October 22, 2016
An Identifying Characteristic
Running Glade Clover ( Trifolium calcaricum )
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

October 22, 2016
Powell River Basin of Lee County
Autumn In The Cedars Natural Area Preserve
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

October 22, 2016
The Cedars Natural Area Preserve
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved


High Knob Massif
Past Peak High Valleys & Summit Level

October 23, 2016
High Knob Massif
High Valley In Big Cherry Lake Basin
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

Although some color remains, especially on slopes above, the floors of high valleys clearly show the affect of cold air drainage with conditions beginning to look like late autumn-early winter via many bare trees.

A general 12-13 consecutive hours at and below freezing were observed in high valleys during the October 22-23 period when temperatures fell into the 20s ( the first low-mid 30s occurring during October 9-10 ).

October 23, 2016
Big Cherry Basin of High Knob Massif
Many Bare Trees In The High Valleys
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

October 23, 2016
Big Cherry Basin of High Knob Massif
Many Bare Trees In The High Valleys
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

October 23, 2016
Big Cherry Basin of High Knob Massif
Local Color Lingers In The High Valleys
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

October 23, 2016
Big Cherry Basin of High Knob Massif
Many Bare Trees In The High Valleys
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

October 23, 2016
Big Cherry Basin of High Knob Massif
Many Bare Trees In The High Valleys
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

October 23, 2016
Big Cherry Basin of High Knob Massif
Many Bare Trees In The High Valleys
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

October 23, 2016
Big Cherry Lake Basin
Beauty Of Autumn Color On Creek
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

October 23, 2016
Past Peak At Summit Level Of Massif
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

October 23, 2016
Looking Down From Summit Level
Bright Colors Are Lower In Elevation
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

While the summit level is similar to high valley floors, there remains much color upon looking downward in elevation toward Norton-Wise where autumn color 
has been peaking.

October 23, 2016
Northern Base of High Knob Massif
Peak Color At Legion Park In City of Norton
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

October 23, 2016
Northern Base of High Knob Massif
Peak Color At Legion Park In City of Norton
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved


Summit Level Sunset
Top Of Cumberland Mountains

October 23, 2016
High Knob Lookout
Approaching Sunset At Top Of Cumberlands
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

October 23, 2016
High Knob Lookout
Approaching Sunset At Top Of Cumberlands
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

October 23, 2016
High Knob Lookout Tower
Sunset Through Arch Of Lookout Tower
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

October 23, 2016
High Knob Meadow
Bare Trees Face Sunset On High Knob
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved


Miscellaneous Autumn Shots
Cumberland Mountains

October 25, 2016
Cumberland Mountains
Cherry Birch ( Betula lenta )
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

October 25, 2016
Polypore Shelf Fungus In Woods
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

October 25, 2016
Cold Air Drainage Corridor
American Beech ( Fagus grandifolia )
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

October 25, 2016
Polypore Shelf Fungus
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

October 25, 2016
Sugar Maple Leaf ( Acer saccharum )
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

October 25, 2016
Mass Of Polypore Fungi
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

October 25, 2016
Stinging Nettle ( Urtica dioica var spp. )
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

October 25, 2016
Large Mass Of Polypore Fungi
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

October 25, 2016
Cold Air Drainage Corridor
American Beech ( Fagus grandifolia )
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

October 25, 2016
Large Mass Of Polypore Fungi
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

October 28, 2016
Cumberland Mountains
Colorful In The Lower Elevations
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved


Thermal Belt & Lower Slope Peak

Mild October weather conditions = a long color season in 2016 with a good amount of color expected to linger into early November in milder locations as well as at lower elevations.

October 29, 2016
Looking Toward Little Stone Mountain Gap
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

Although high valleys and highest crestlines are past peak, with many bare trees, an array of simply gorgeous color continues and is peaking within milder thermal belts sites and on lower slopes in the massif area.

October 29, 2016
Little Mountain of High Knob Massif
Majestic Sugar Maple ( Acer saccharum )
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

October 29, 2016
Little Mountain of High Knob Massif
Majestic Sugar Maple ( Acer saccharum )
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

October 29, 2016
Little Mountain of High Knob Massif
Majestic Sugar Maple ( Acer saccharum )
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

October 29, 2016
Little Mountain of High Knob Massif
Majestic Sugar Maple ( Acer saccharum )
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

October 29, 2016
Little Mountain of High Knob Massif
Majestic Mesophytic Forest Along Route 237
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

October 29, 2016
Little Mountain of High Knob Massif
Majestic Mesophytic Forest Along Route 237
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

October 29, 2016
Little Mountain of High Knob Massif
Majestic Mesophytic Forest Along Route 237
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

October 29, 2016
Little Mountain of High Knob Massif
Majestic Mesophytic Forest Along Route 237
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

October 29, 2016
Little Mountain of High Knob Massif
Majestic Mesophytic Forest Along Route 237
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

October 29, 2016
Little Mountain of High Knob Massif
Majestic Mesophytic Forest Along Route 237
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

October 29, 2016
Little Mountain of High Knob Massif
Majestic Mesophytic Forest Along Route 237
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

October 29, 2016
Little Mountain of High Knob Massif
Majestic Mesophytic Forest Along Route 237
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

October 29, 2016
Benges Branch Gorge of High Knob Massif
Most Color Below Flag Rock Recreation Area
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

October 29, 2016
Rugged Stone-Pickem Mountain
Some Color Along & Above Flag Rock RA
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved



Autumn Leaf Shots
Cumberland Mountains

October 30, 2016
Lower Elevations of Cumberland Mountains
Blue Beech or Hornbeam ( Carpinus caroliniana )
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

October 30, 2016
Lower Elevations of Cumberland Mountains
Under-side Flowering Dogwood ( Cornus florida )
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

October 30, 2016
Lower Elevations of Cumberland Mountains
Upper-side Flowering Dogwood ( Cornus florida )
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

October 30, 2016
Cumberland Mountains
Colorful Sugar Maple ( Acer saccharum )
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

October 30, 2016
Hanging On To Green
Slippery Elm ( Ulmus rubra )
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

October 31, 2016
Slipper Elm ( Ulmus rubra ) In Autumn Color
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

October 30, 2016
Cumberland Mountains
American Beech ( Fagus grandifolia )
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

October 30, 2016
Cumberland Mountains
Great Rhododendron ( Rhododendron maxium )
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

October 31, 2016
Cumberland Mountains
Scarlet Oak ( Quercus coccinea )
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

October 31, 2016
Cumberland Mountains
Under-side of White Oak ( Quercus alba )
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

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