Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Winter 2019_In The High Knob Massif

January 15, 2019
Head of Big Cherry Lake Basin
Beautiful Late Afternoon Light And Rime
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

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Late Afternoon of January 15, 2019
Heavy Rime At Upper Elevations In Massif
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

Although a recent Miller B winter storm system dropped very little snow, it left a beautiful winter wonderland in upper elevations of the High Knob Massif with prolonged riming as clouds engulfed the high country in sub-freezing air.

High Knob Massif
Late Afternoon of January 15, 2019
Heavy Riming At Upper Elevations
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

Rime accumulations of 1" to 3" were measured at elevations above 3300 feet, with lighter amounts 
of generally less than 1" below 3300 feet.

Rime Covered Pickem Mountain
Early-Mid Afternoon of January 15, 2019
View From Flag Rock Recreation Area
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

For anyone who may doubt the importance of 
trees and rime deposition to the moisture budget 
of upper elevations, above 3000 feet, in the High Knob Massif please consider the following.

January 15, 2019
Late PM Light Illuminates Forest of Rime
Looking At Head of Big Cherry Lake Basin
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

Using a 4"-diameter NWS rain gauge I scraped rime off of a single, small limb approximately 18" 
in length and allowed it to melt to obtain the 
water content.

The result = 0.67" of water.  Amazing!

How could rime moisture ( and fog drip ) from trees not be important to the water supply basins 
of this massif and to its biodiversity?

January 15, 2019
Peak of High Knob Massif
Heavy Rime Formation In Upper Elevations
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

January 15, 2019
Majestic Late Afternoon Light
Looking Across Head of Big Cherry Lake Basin
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

Big Cherry Lake Basin
UVA-Wise Field Trip_Week 1

Big Cherry Lake had mostly frozen 
over prior to the recent arctic blast.

January 26, 2019
UVA-Wise Field Trip
Ice Covered Big Cherry Lake
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

January 26, 2019
UVA-Wise Field Trip
Late Afternoon Reflections On Ice
Big Cherry Lake of High Knob Massif
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

January 26, 2019
UVA-Wise Field Trip
Snow Covered Roads In High Country
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

Although snow had mostly melted away by afternoon hours on February 2, high elevation roads still had a little snow on them.  

This marked 16 consecutive days with snow 
cover on northern slopes at the highest elevations; however, snow was never very deep and the month of January ended having produced much below average snowfall across the mountain area.

High Knob Lake Basin
UVA-Wise Field Trip_Week 2

February 2, 2019
UVA-Wise Field Trip
Frozen Solid At High Knob Lake
High Knob Lake Recreation Area
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

February 2, 2019
High Knob Lake of High Knob Massif
Downed American Beech ( Fagus grandifolia )
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

Scenes like this are common along the trail between High Knob Lookout and High Knob Lake, with numerous, large trees across the trail thanks to heavy icing, rime-snow, and high winds. 

February 2, 2019
UVA-Wise Field Trip
Frozen Cove At High Knob Lake
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

High-elevation lakes were completely frozen on February 2, with standing or running water found only on top of the ice (where snow had just melted) and where tributary creeks entered the lake.

February 2, 2019
UVA-Wise Field Trip
Looking SE Across High Knob Massif
Toward Mount Rogers & Whitetop Mountain
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

An array of beautiful lenticular clouds were observed along the High Knob Massif during late afternoon.  Such mountain waves are very common over this area and occur on many days throughout the year (along with standing waves and many other forms).

February 2, 2019
UVA-Wise Field Trip
Lenticular Mountain Wave Clouds
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved


Little Stony Creek Basin
UVA-Wise Field Trip_Week 3

February 9, 2019
Upper Tennessee River Basin
Upper Falls of Little Stony Creek Gorge
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

Whitewater was gushing out of the 16.4 square mile Little Stony Creek basin in wake of a general 2.00" of rain a couple days prior to our third consecutive UVA-Wise Field Trip of the 2018-19 season.

February 9, 2019
Little Stony Creek of Clinch River
Upper Falls of Little Stony Creek Gorge
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

Little Stony Basin contains an array of special habitats, including Spray Cliffs which could be 
seen and felt on this day with icing on vegetation downstream of the major water falls.

February 9, 2019
Little Stony Basin of High Knob Massif
Middle Falls of Little Stony Creek Gorge
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

Little Stony Creek heads up near the eastern end 
of Bowman Mountain, within the Brushy Knob and Robinson Knob section of the massif.

February 9, 2019
Little Stony Basin of High Knob Massif
Middle Falls of Little Stony Creek Gorge
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

February 9, 2019
Whitewater Churns In Little Stony Gorge
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

Whitewater is like the atmosphere, it is constantly changing and generating new flow lines in a chaotic array of beauty and power.

February 9, 2019
Whitewater Churns In Little Stony Gorge
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

The Little Stony Creek National Recreation Trail has slid off just prior to reaching the Big Falls of Little Stony Gorge, so use caution in this area.

February 9, 2019
Little Stony Basin of High Knob Massif
Big Falls of Little Stony Creek Gorge
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

The Big Falls is nearly a straight drop of 35-40 feet.

February 9, 2019
Little Stony Basin of High Knob Massif
Big Falls of Little Stony Creek Gorge
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

February 9, 2019
View From Bear Rock Heath Barren
Little Stony Creek Gorge of High Knob Massif
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

The Bear Rock Heath Barren which overlooks 
Little Stony Gorge is a unique habitat featuring rare plants and a dramatic 360 view of the gorge and surrounding mountain landscape.

February 9, 2019
View From Bear Rock Heath Barren
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

It appeared that a few maples 
were beginning to bud.

February 9, 2019
View From Bear Rock Heath Barren
Little Stony Creek Gorge of High Knob Massif
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

February 9, 2019
Rugged Cliffs of Little Stony Gorge
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved


Too Much Rain = Flooding

Rain, rain, and simply more rain finally reached a climax with mud-rock slides and flooding across the mountain region during this past week.

Graphic Courtesy of the U.S.G.S.

Observe how consistently above the long-term 1921-2018 mean flow this past year has been, illustrating antecedent wetness that led to flooding during this month and that will lead to more flooding in coming months if this pattern does not relax and the mountain landscape dry.

The biologically diverse Clinch River exemplifies this pattern, with the 35,000 cubic feet per second flow achieved on February 24 being the highest since February 2018 when a discharge of 35,800 cfs was reached during flooding amid what became the Wettest February on Record in Virginia.


Height of 26.5 feet = 8.5 feet above flood stage

Who would have believed, only one year later, that February 2019 would challenge that record?


While flooding was generally considered only minor-moderate, one has to go back to March 2015 to find a significantly greater discharge and higher flow level at the Speers Ferry gage, then to March 2002 to find a major event where the flow was about double that observed on February 24, 2019.

The benchmark flood of record was observed in April 1977 when 89,000 cfs passed the Speers Ferry gage at an incredible 36.7 feet (18.7 feet above flood stage).

Height of 8.2 feet = 1.7 feet above flood stage

Steep creeks draining the High Knob Massif became raging torrents, making whitewater 
shots seen above in this section appear as mere trickles, which is always both awe inspiring and frightening at the same time as the ground vibrates next to these beasts as they exceed red alert stage.

Notable High Knob Massif Creeks

Big Stony Creek of Clinch River
2230 feet of vertical drop in 13 miles

South Fork of Powell River
1433 feet of vertical drop in 4 miles

Straight Fork of Clinch River
Chimney Rock Fork of Clinch River
1460 to 1505 feet of vertical drop in 4 miles

Little Stony Creek of Clinch River
780 vertical feet of drop in 3 miles

Guest River Gorge of Clinch River
100 vertical feet of drop per mile in gorge

Beaverdam Creek
Benges Branch
Burns Creek
Clear Creek
Corder Branch
Cove Creek
Devil Fork
Dry Creek
Glady Fork
Jasper Creek
Laurel Branch
Laurel Fork
Lost Creek
Machine Creek
McGhee Creek
Mill Creek
Pine Creek
Ramey Branch
Robinette Branch
Stock Creek

and many more add water to 
the Clinch-Powell river basins. 

This marked the third time in the past couple weeks that Big Stony Creek had reached flood stage.  Precipitation measured at the base of the High Knob Massif in the City of Norton reveals why, with even greater totals at upper elevations where fog drip and rime collection by trees also added to the moisture budget.

February 1-24, 2019
City of Norton Water Plant
Daily Hand-Measured Precip
( 9:00 AM / 24-Hour Daily)

02/05    0.03
02/06    0.06
02/07    2.14
02/08    0.63

02/11    0.58
02/12    0.37
02/13    1.01

02/16    0.38
02/17    0.14
02/18    0.95

02/20    1.09
02/21    1.19

02/22    0.50
02/23    0.99
02/24    1.86

February Total: 11.92″

January Total: 5.44″

2019 Total: 17.36″

December 1-February 24: 25.30″

13-Month Average Per Month: 7.55"

Most creeks in the High Knob Massif area achieved their highest stream levels since February 2018.

Black Mountain Mesonet
( Elevation 4031 feet )
Courtesy of Kentucky Mesonet_WKU

January Total: 6.49"

2019 Total: 19.45"

December 1-February 24: 27.84"

The general 25.00" to 30.00" of precipitation measured in the High Knob Massif-Black Mountain corridor, which includes the City of Norton, is now greater than observed last winter during the period of meteorological winter (Dec 1-Feb 28).

At upper elevations, above 3000 feet, it should again be stressed that these totals do not include significant additional moisture added by fog drip from trees and rime collection and drop by trees during many days and nights spent within orographic clouds.

Graphic Courtesy of the U.S.G.S.

Flooding within the Tacoma to Coeburn corridor becomes common when Guest River approaches flood stage, with input from creeks draining the High Knob Massif into Ramsey, Tacoma, Bond Town and the Town of Coeburn (in addition to those draining the Tennessee Valley Divide).

Courtesy of Virginia Department of Transportation

While many state roads were closed across southwest Virginia due to flooding, or mud-rock slides, many more private roadways were impacted during this event (not listed).

Courtesy of Appalachian Power

Despite the return of welcomed sunshine, high wind gusts downed many trees with a widespread array of power outages resulting to complicate clean-up efforts (Old Dominion Power, serving much of Wise County, is not included).

This section is under construction.  Please check back.

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Late Autumn 2018_High Knob Massif


November 14, 2018
Moisture Capture By Trees
Looking Across Big Cherry Lake Basin
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

History Of Christmases Past
55-Years ( 1963-2017 )

Clouds engulfing the high country of the High Knob Massif transformed the landscape into a RIME forest, as standing trees captured a vast volume of super-cooled cloud vapor.

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November 14, 2018
Moisture Capture By Trees
Looking Across High Knob Lake Basin
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

Trees are critical to moisture extraction throughout the year, with the results being most evident and majestic during rime formation when the actual captured product becomes clearly visible for everyone to see.

November 14, 2018
Moisture Capture By Trees
Northern Slopes Above Flag Rock RA
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

Scroll down the page where more 
rime photograph can be viewed.

November 3, 2018
Powell Mountain Block of High Knob Massif
Looking SW Across Big Cherry Lake Basin

Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

While many bare trees are featured in the high country as this final month of meteorological autumn begins, pockets of color remain and 
leaf coverage is much greater than usual. 

November 3, 2018
Large Crest of High Knob Massif
Looking SE Across High Knob Lake Basin
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

For three consecutive weekends snow flakes flew atop the High Knob Massif, with this third weekend marking the first, actual accumulation of snow and rime at highest elevations.

November 3, 2018
Rime On Cow Pasnip (Heracleum maximum)
Photograph by Layton Gardner - © All Rights Reserved

Around 1" of predawn snow fell, along with riming.

November 3, 2018
Snow-Rime On High Knob Peak
Photograph by Layton Gardner - © All Rights Reserved

Accumulation was short-lived, with significant melting by around 1130 hours (11:30 AM ) when Layton captured these beautiful scenes.

All snow and rime was nearly gone by Noon, save for a couple inches which had blown up against the Lookout Tower (*).

*Some kids were making the first 
snow balls of the season out of that!

November 3, 2018
Looking Toward Eagle Knob of High Knob Massif
Photograph by Layton Gardner - © All Rights Reserved

Air temps climbed to around freezing by 1120 hours, even on northern exposed slopes; although, a little bit of snow-rime did linger through 1500 hours on Eagle Knob (36 degrees at 3 PM).

Eagle Knob
High Knob Project
UVA-Wise Research

A total of 16.0 hours at or below freezing 
( 32F or 0C ) were observed on Eagle Knob.

November 3, 2018
Looking WSW Across Roaring Branch Gorge
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

The coldest temperatures observed during Autumn 2018 ( through November 3 ) dropped into the 20-25 degree F range during October 21-23, from high mountain ridges down into colder mountain valleys at upper elevations.

November 3, 2018
Looking NW To Pine Mountain on VA-KY Line
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

November 3, 2018
High Knob Lake - Water Elevation 3520 Feet
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

November 3, 2018
Elevation Around-Below 3000 Feet
Lingering Color Along State Route 619
Northern Slopes of High Knob Massif
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved


Beauty And Beast Storm
November 13-16, 2018

This was a Beauty And The Beast storm for upper elevations in the High Knob Massif where gorgeous riming during November 13-14 gave way to major ice storm conditions into the overnight-morning hours of November 15 ( prior to a change into snow ).

November 14, 2018
Rime Covered Big Cherry Lake Basin
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

November 14, 2018
High Knob Lookout Tower
High Country of Cumberland Mountains
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

Rime extended from highest peaks into deep gorges.

November 14, 2018
Benges Branch Gorge of High Knob Massif
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

November 14, 2018
Looking Across Grindstone Ridge
Rime Covered Head of Big Cherry Lake Basin
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

November 14, 2018
Benges Branch Gorge of High Knob Massif
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

A notable inversion layer, visible during afternoon hours of November 14, was an ominous foreshadowing of trouble into the upcoming night.

November 14, 2018
Inversion Layer Visible
High Country of High Knob Massif
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

November 14, 2018
North Slope Rime Forest of High Knob Massif
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

November 14, 2018
Looking SW Across High Knob Massif
Fog Layer Over South Fork Powell River Gorge
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

November 14, 2018
Looking Across High Knob Lake Basin
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

November 14, 2018
Mountain Wave Clouds
Looking Across Big Cherry Lake Basin
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

November 14, 2018
Water Elevation 3318 Feet
Spillway At Upper Norton Reservoir

Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

November 14, 2018
Flag Rock Recreation Area
Rime Surrounds Famous Flag Rock
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

Major icing developed at highest elevations in the 
High Knob Massif into the overnight and morning hours of November 15, with many broken tree limbs and small trees as the BEAST of this early winter storm reared its destructive side ( beautiful but destructive ice ).

November 15, 2018
Major Ice Accumulation On Eagle Knob
Cody Blankenbecler Image - © All Rights Reserved

So many broken tree limbs impacted High Knob, Eagle Knob, Little Mountain Knob, and areas toward Camp Rock that roads were blocked and had to be cleared of debris.  It locally looked like a ''war zone'' in places.

November 16 at 12:02 PM
Chunks Of Ice Falling Into Snow On Eagle Knob
Cody Blankenbecler Image - © All Rights Reserved

Chunks of ice began falling into a couple inches of snow by mid-day on November 16, which accumulated at the end of this system, as bent trees remained visible in the background ( numerous roads were impassible ).


Major Winter Storm
December 9, 2018

December 10, 2018
Orographic Snow Clouds Capping Massif
High Knob Massif Webcam_UVA-Wise

Long-lived orographic clouds laying for miles across 
the High Knob Massif added even more moisture to 
trees with rime deposition in the high country.

December 10, 2018
Orographic Snow Clouds Capping Massif
High Knob Massif Webcam_UVA-Wise

A majestic mountain landscape was observed in wake of a general 1 to 2 feet of snow from the elevation of Wise up across the high country of the High Knob Massif.


Time Lapse Excerpt From Winter Storm
UVA-Wise Undergraduate Research Program

This short example from the storm episode was selected to illustrate huge snowflakes which often tend to be part of these types of systems.  Note also how difficult it was for snow plows to keep roads cleared.

Huge Snowfall & Depth Gradient Across Massif
GOES-16 Visible Image

A huge snow depth gradient was observed between the rising air side of the High Knob Massif and the sinking air side, with more than a foot along the Clinch River Valley to contrast with 1" or less along portions of Powell Valley and the Powell River Valley 
( between Norton and Pennington Gap ). 

The maximum snow depth difference was around 2 feet, or locally more, between the high country of the massif and the adjacent floor of Powell Valley and the Powell River Valley.

*It was actually MUCH more if you include drifts, with Tony Dockery of VDOT taking a photograph of 5-6 foot drifts on High Knob ( submitted courtesy of my friend John Varner, night superintendent of the East Stone Gap VDOT ).

Differences between Big Stone Gap and Wise were highlighted by a couple of my former students, with Dylan Richardson reporting 0.5" of snow at his home in Big Stone Gap versus the 13.5" that were measured by Layton Gardner at his home on 
Pole Bridge Road of the Wise Plateau.

This is not; however, merely a mountain to valley phenomenon as more than 2.00" of water equivalent in the High Knob Massif was 1.00" or more greater than observed at similar high elevations on Black Mountain.  This has been a documented aspect with previous TIM events.

925 MB Analysis At 1:00 AM December 9

925 MB Analysis At 7:00 AM December 9

925 MB Analysis At 1:00 PM December 9

While flow at lowest levels is always important, it does not necessarily dictate the impacts when you have high mountain terrain which stands upward to near 850 MB and generates atmospheric waves which stand and extend terrain influences higher, to occasionally much higher, into the troposphere (waves even propagate upward and break into the stratosphere at times).

In events like this the City of Norton is typically right amid the transitional zone between more TIM Circulation impacts versus Wise with less impacts.  Norton always gets more total precipitation since 
it is closer to the standing wave axis but beneath where air starts sinking aloft, 
such that precipitation type becomes 
more of an issue.

The City of Norton Water Plant measured 1.91" of total precipitation with 8.5" of snow depth on the morning of December 10.  


Nearby Wise had more snow depth but less total precipitation with less mixed types.

All TIM events I have documented have displayed this same type of precipitation distribution and all events have also seen 

Big Stone Gap receive little to no snow and much less total precip at the Wastewater Treatment Plant versus the Big Stone Gap Water Plant which, like Norton WP, is closer to the standing wave axis.

Locations on the cold side of the standing wave axis, and TIM Circulation, always get hammered with heavy snow. That correlates to the high country of the massif ( typically most extreme from Bowman Mountain of Stone Mountain to Thunderstruck Knob 
of Powell Mountain ).

Although communities such as High Chaparral, Robinson Knob, Moore Knob, East Moore Knob, and Flat Gap tend to also get very heavy snow, documented totals have not been as great as those in the Little Mountain and Johnson Pastures-Cox Place communities.  Measuring in nearly all locations is problematic given blizzard conditions and extensive drifting from horizontally falling snow during these events.

850 MB Analysis At 1:00 AM December 9


850 MB Analysis At 7:00 AM December 9


850 MB Analysis At 1:00 PM December 9

Air flow in the 900-600 MB layer streamed toward the High Knob Massif from the ESE-SE, with air flowing from the VJI-TRI corridor (Abingdon to Tri-Cities) across Scott County toward a standing wave formed 
by the massif with flow over (through) the wave and subsidence (sinking) to its lee (downstream of the 
high country) along the Powell River Valley. 

This is part of a Thermally Indirect Mesoscale (TIM) Circulation first identified by Wayne Browning more than 2 decades ago during climate research, with topographic anchoring of a rain-snow-mix zone along the northwestern edge of the massif.  In this case, cold air rises on E-SE air flow up across the high country side while warming air is forced to sink downstream of the massif and anchored transitional zone wave form.

700 MB Analysis At 1:00 AM December 9


700 MB Analysis At 7:00 AM December 9


700 MB Analysis At 1:00 PM December 9

This system was not as potent as the January 1998 and December 2009 storms; although, more cold air along the Great Valley did allow that corridor to receive more snow than observed during these previous storm events (so it was worse for this interior valley).


Frigid In High Mountain Valleys
December 11, 2018

High mountain valleys from the High Knob Massif to Burkes Garden plunged to frigid levels into the morning hours of December 11 as the combination of dry air advection over deep snow allowed the bottom to literally drop out.


Courtesy of Blacksburg NWSFO

Min temperatures dropped to -9 below zero in Burkes Garden and locally as cold or colder in the High Knob Massif.  This generated a large vertical temp gradient between high valleys and those at low elevations which either had no snow cover (Big Stone Gap) or had freezing fog formation (with latent heat release).



Storm Snowfall Totals And Recap
December 8-10, 2018 Period

Meadow Elevation 3880 Feet
Afternoon of December 15, 2018
Camp Rock Meadow of High Knob Massif
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

Nearly a week after the first major winter snowfall 
of the season and the high country of the High Knob Massif was engulfed in orographic clouds. 

A general 3" to 7" of snow depth continued 
to cover northern slopes and higher elevations.

Drifts stretched for miles along high crest lines, with deepest snow being along the west to northwest sides of ridges given this storm was dominated by E-SE winds.

I sampled a single quarter mile section and 
measured the following drifts as I came to them:

*Measured Drifts

8"
16"
10"
18"
11"
8-16"
12"
12-16"
8-16"
24"
8-14"
10-20"
12"
13"
12-20"
12-18"
21"

*As of 3:00 to 3:30 PM Saturday ( December 15, 2018 )

Following several days of above freezing temperatures, orographic clouds (fog with latent heat of condensation release), and some rain, snow depths had come WAY down from max depths on December 9-10.

Meadow Elevation 3880 Feet
Afternoon of December 15, 2018
Camp Rock Meadow of High Knob Massif
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

This included drifts, with VDOT driver Tony Dockery reporting 5-6 feet drifts in the gap between High Knob and Little Mountain Knob on December 10.  Drifts in that area on the afternoon of December 15 were no larger than ones I measured, and did not look to be 
as deep as drifts up along adjacent crest lines.

*As typical, some of the biggest drifts blocked Route 237 
in the Davenport Gap area going toward Big Cherry Lake.

Snow Melt Run-off With Roaring Water Levels
Big Stony Creek Crested 1 Foot Below Flood Stage

December 15, 2018
Robinette Branch of Benges
Legion Park In City of Norton 
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

( Long-time exposure at sunset in Legion Park ).

Resulting run-off had creeks gushing on December 15, especially the large streams such as Big Stony Creek, Little Stony Creek, Clear Creek, and South Fork of Powell River to note a few.

December 15 was the designated Christmas Bird Count day and conditions made this difficult with persistent clouds and wind up high and much water noise in the valleys and hollows down below.


Snowfall Totals

December 9, 2018
Long Ridge of Sandy Ridge
Beautiful Snow Along Tennessee Valley Divide
Photograph by Wayne Riner - © All Rights Reserved

High Knob Crest Zone
23.0" with 4-8 foot drifts
(Partially based upon snow cores)

High Chaparral Community
19.0" with 16-18"+ depths

Natural Tunnel State Park
14-18" with 2 foot drifts

Duffield
14" to 18" depths

Pole Bridge Road-Wise Plateau
13.5 of snow with 11" mean depth

Castlewood
13" depth

Nora 4 SSE NWS
10.3" ( 1.37" storm total )

December 10, 2018
Nora 4 SSE on Long Ridge
Nearly A Foot In Wake Of Winter Storm
Photograph by Wayne Riner - © All Rights Reserved

City of Norton WP
8.5" ( 1.91" storm total )

Clintwood 1 W NWS
8" ( 1.25" storm total )

SE Side of Powell Valley
5-10" depths

Head of Powell Valley
4" depth

Wallen Ridge
4" depth

Big Stone Gap
0.5" depth

December 10, 2018
Bluebird House In Snow
Photograph by Wayne Riner - © All Rights Reserved

More than 27,000 homes and businesses lost electricity during this event, with Scott County, Va., being the most severely impacted county in the region ( up to 70% or more of Scott County lost power ).

December 10, 2018
Beauty Along The Tennessee Valley Divide
Photograph by Wayne Riner - © All Rights Reserved

The beauty of this storm could not be denied, nor could its destructive impact with locations upstream of the High Knob Massif being hardest hit.

AEP Outage Map At 2:45 PM on December 9
Does Not Include Old Dominion Power Outages