Saturday, November 2, 2019

Majestic Rime Opens Nov 2019_High Knob Massif

1 November 2019
High Knob Massif
Majestic Rime & Snow Along Route 238
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

The second rime event of the 2019-20 winter season was a beauty as it featured feathery rime above the first coating of snow.

*The first rime event was minor at the summit level
and occurred into early hours of 17 October 2019.

( Large section - Allow Time To Load )



**These highly compressed photographs, being less than 10%
the size of originals, do not capture the true beauty of this event
nor, especially, the experience of being there personally.

1 November 2019
High Knob Massif
Majestic Rime Along Forest Service Route 238
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

Following the driest September on record, the month 
of October 2019 ended with somewhat above average precipitation but well shy of the 9.40" total observed in October 2014 (the greatest October tally at Big Cherry Dam since recording began in 2007-08).

Monthly Total Precipitation
Big Cherry Lake Dam
(Elevation 3139 feet)

January
6.14"

February
12.50"

March
5.93"

April
6.64"

May
6.75"

June
10.68"

July
10.77"

August
4.15"

September
0.63"

October
5.01"
( 5.89" to Midnight 31st )

November
5.20"
( 7.04" to Midnight 30th )

December 1-5
3.76"

Summer 2019
(Jun 1-Aug 31)
25.60"

2019 Total: 78.16" (M)
 (January 1 to December 5 Period)

Total Past 12-Months: 85.32" (M)

(M): Some missing moisture in undercatch and frozen precipitation, with partial corrections applied for the 24.4 meter (80 feet) tall dam structure where rain gauges are located.

1 November 2019
High Knob Massif
Majestic Rime Along Forest Service Route 238
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

1 November 2019
High Knob Massif
Majestic Rime Along Forest Service Route 238
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

The greatest rime accumulations during this event were at elevations above 3500 feet, with a feathery deposition of frozen cloud vapor.

1 November 2019
Remnant Massif of High Knob Landform
Majestic Rime Along Forest Service 238
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

1 November 2019
Feathery Nature of Riming
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

1 November 2019
Light Rays Through Rime Coated Forest
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

1 November 2019
Gorgeous Rime On High Knob
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

1 November 2019
Rime Along State Route 619
Remnant Massif of High Knob Landform
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

1 November 2019
Rime In Air, On Trees, With Breaking Clouds
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

1 November 2019
High Knob Massif
Rime Coated Northern Exposed Slopes
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

1 November 2019
Rime And Lingering Autumn Color
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

1 November 2019
Rime And Lingering Autumn Color
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

1 November 2019
Light Rays Through Rime Coated Forest
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

1 November 2019
Beautiful Rime Coated Forest
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

1 November 2019
Feathery Rime Along State Route 619
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

1 November 2019
Low-level Inversion Breaking
High Ridges Above Upper Norton Reservoir
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

Two seasons in one was obvious by looking at rime capped ridges of Benges Basin, above reservoirs for 
the City of Norton.

1 November 2019
Above The Upper Norton Reservoir
Rime-capped Mountain Ridges of High Knob
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

1 November 2019
Beautiful Sugar Maple (Acer saccharum)
Lower Section Of State Route 619 Near Norton
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

Although past peak, a few beautiful trees remained.

1 November 2019
Beautiful Sugar Maple (Acer saccharum)
Lower Section Of State Route 619 Near Norton
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

1 November 2019
Bear Rock of High Knob Massif
Little Stony Creek Gorge of Clinch River
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

The effect of cold air drainage through Little Stony Gorge was obvious, with more bare and past peak trees than observed along adjacent ridges and higher slopes.

1 November 2019
Bear Rock Heath Barren
Little Stony Creek Gorge of High Knob Massif
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

1 November 2019
Bear Rock Heath Barren
Little Stony Creek Gorge of High Knob Massif
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

Beautiful color remained on the Bear Rock Heath Barren, where red was the dominant color observed.

1 November 2019
Bear Rock Heath Barren
Scarlet Oak (Quercus coccinea)
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

1 November 2019
Upper Tennessee River Basin
Little Stony Creek Gorge of High Knob Massif
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

1 November 2019
Upper Tennessee River Basin
Little Stony Creek Gorge of High Knob Massif
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

1 November 2019
Little Stony Creek Gorge of High Knob Massif
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

1 November 2019
Little Stony Creek Gorge of High Knob Massif
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved


Breaks Interstate Park
Lingering Late Season Color

9 November 2019
Majestic Towers Formation
Late Season Color Across Breaks Gorge
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

9 November 2019
Breaks Interstate Park
The Towers Rock Formation_Afternoon Light
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

9 November 2019
Breaks Interstate Park
Majestic Breaks Gorge_Russell Fork River
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

9 November 2019
Breaks Interstate Park
Majestic Light On The Towers Rock Formation
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved


First Significant Snow Event
(Winter Season 2019-20)

Morning of 12 November 2019
Eagle Knob of High Knob Massif (4196 Feet)
Blowing And Drifting Snow On Eagle Knob
Cody Blankenbecker Image - © All Rights Reserved

A general 4-5" of snow, with 6-10"+ drifts were observed into morning hours of 12 November, with additional upslope snow showers and light snow adding another 1-2" into early on 13 November.

The first significant and widespread snow event of the 2019-20 winter season generated blowing and drifting snow at upper elevations in the High Knob Massif into morning hours of 12 November.

12 November 2019 at 5:02 PM
Upslope Snow Showers After System Snowfall
Courtesy Computer Science-Mathematics Department

An array of upslope snow showers continued through the day in wake of system snow, with most significant additional accumulations being along and to the north and northwest of the High Knob Massif and Tennessee Valley Divide.

12 November 2019
GOES-16 Visible Image At 1351 UTC

A distinct baroclinic cloud shield was observed on GOES-16 imagery, which produced the bulk of snowfall across the mountain region.  Great Lake streamers, with bitterly cold air moving over the relatively warm water, became more distinct against clear skies and snow covered ground along and north of the Ohio River.

12 November 2019
GOES-16 Visible Image At 1631 UTC


Storm Snowfall Totals
12-13 November 2019

Clintwood 1 W: 2.7"
( 2-3" ground depths / 0.30" total )

Norton Water Plant: 3.9"
( 3-4" ground depths / 0.71" total )

Jonesville 3.1 WSW: 4.0"
( 4" ground depth )

Nora 4 SSE: 4.2"
( 3" mean depth / 0.47" total )

High Chaparral of High Knob: 5.0"
( 4-5" ground depths )

Eagle Knob of High Knob: 6.0"
( bare ground to 6-10"+ drifts )

If this system was driven by only N-NW upslope flow then Jonesville would have not been on the list, but given that cold air caught up with SW to NE moving precipitation then it was within the main baroclinic band that developed.

72-Hour Change In Conditions
Black Mountain Mesonet Site_Elevation 4039 Ft

*The lack of snow across Lee County, along and to the southeast of the Cumberland-Stone Mountain ridge of the Tennessee Valley Divide, is a very well documented and studied part of local climatology which extends into the Big Stone Gap area of southwestern Wise County.  If significant snow falls in this corridor of the High Knob Landform then it typically must have, as I have always taught, a SW component within at least one or more levels of the atmosphere (the main exception being huge storms that overwhelm the orographics to generate heavy snow on other air flow trajectories due to strong dynamical and/or thermodynamical forcing).

13 November 2019
Copernicus Landsat Image
From Long Island & Atlantic Streams To The Southern Appalachians

Interesting features are often visible in wake of these systems, especially now with modern satellite imagery that yields an often spectacular look at planet Earth.

13 November 2019
Copernicus Landsat Image _Southern Appalachians


Pre-Thanksgiving Wintry Spell

24 November 2019
Elevation 3300 feet
High Chaparral of High Knob Massif
Photograph by Joe & Darlene Fields - © All Rights Reserved

Sticking snow was elevation biased during this pre-thanksgiving event, with a dusting to 1" above 2200 feet in locations along and north of the High Knob Massif.  Locally up to 2" was reported on Roan Mountain, Tn.

24 November 2019
Elevation 2550 feet
Dusting Of Snow In Wise
Computer Science-Mathematics Department

Clouds were slow to break and actually did not break 
at all in locations southwest and south of the High Knob Massif where a low-level inversion was forming (*).

*Localized breaks were due to leeward sinking.

The high country of the massif, as well as other elevated locations such as the Great Smokies, cleared during the afternoon (clearing lasted for only part of the afternoon in the High Knob Massf).

24 November 2019
An Active Sunday Afternoon
Courtesy of GOES-16

The afternoon of Sunday, 24 November, featured an array of different settings across the southern-central Appalachians as highlighted partially by the above GOES-16 visible image.

24 November 2019
Kelvin-Helmhotz Clouds At Inversion Interface
Computer Science-Mathematics Department

Changes in wind speed and density vertically through the lower atmosphere were responsible for the formation of interesting Kelvin-Helmhotz wave clouds around sunset, amid a strengthening low-level inversion.

25 November 2019 at 1351 UTC
Freezing Fog In Southern Appalachians

An array of freezing fog was observed within the Clinch, Powell, Russell Fork and adjoining basins during the predawn-sunrise hours of 25 November.  

The setting changed from the primary freezing fog being associated 
with orographic clouds at highest elevations through evening hours of 
24 November to radiational fog formation in the overnight-predawn 
of 25 November.

25 November 2019
After Some Fog Had Dissipated
Visible Image Courtesy of GOES-16

This section is under construction.  Please check back.

Thursday, October 24, 2019

Autumn 2019 Peak_High Knob Massif

23 October 2019
Autumn 2019 Peak Color
Flag Rock Recreation Area of High Knob Massif
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

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Autumn color was in peak at elevations between 2800-3800 feet, as of 23 October, with an array of gorgeous color. 

The peak is yet to arrive at elevations below 2800 feet to contrast with past peak conditions above 3800 feet, along highest ridges, where many trees are bare or becoming bare.

23 October 2019
Gorgeous Pickem Mountain of High Knob Massif
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

Autumn color is consistently good to great every year along mesic northern slopes of the High Knob Massif, with a featured corridor stretching from the City of Norton southwest along old U.S. 23 to the 
Big Stone Gap, where jagged cliffs break the forest canopy and add rugged beauty to autumnal scenes.  This outstanding color corridor extends onward to Keokee Lake in Lee County and to Cumberland 
Gap National Historical Park (especially its northern slopes)

The above is speaking generally, of course, with some high valleys above 3000 feet in the High Knob Massif also past peak where air temperatures have already been in the 20s prior to this week.

23 October 2019
Benges Branch Gorge of High Knob Massif
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

Many northern species added to a mixed-mesophytic forest type enhances this color spectrum, with micro-climates embedded in complex, three-dimensional terrain being the foundation upon which this truly glorious autumn show is produced.

23 October 2019
Benges Branch Gorge of High Knob Massif
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

Given recent short-term drought conditions, there was some concern about how this autumn color season would behave.

Following a very wet year, September 2019 was the driest month ever observed at Big Cherry Lake Dam with only 0.63" of rain.

Ditto for the City of Norton with 0.65" of rainfall, and 
for the Town of Clintwood where just 0.24" of rain fell.

Monthly Total Precipitation
Big Cherry Lake Dam
(Elevation 3139 feet)

January
6.14"

February
12.50"

March
5.93"

April
6.64"

May
6.75"

June
10.68"

July
10.77"

August
4.15"

September
0.63"

October 1-27
4.04"

Summer 2019
(Jun 1-Aug 31)
25.60"

*2019 Total: 68.23" (M)
 (January 1 to October 27 Period)

(M): Some missing moisture in undercatch and frozen precipitation, with partial corrections applied for the 24.4 meter (80 feet) tall dam structure where rain gauges are located.

23 October 2019
Benges Branch Basin
Upper Norton Reservoir of High Knob Massif
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

The only missing ingredient at the Upper Reservoir this year was the high quality water reflections that come with a full lake, which has been drawn down for water usage as the main supply for the City of Norton.

23 October 2019
Benges Branch Basin
Upper Norton Reservoir of High Knob Massif
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

23 October 2019
Benges Branch Basin
Upper Norton Reservoir of High Knob Massif
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

23 October 2019
View From Eagle Knob of High Knob Massif
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

A dry, low dewpoint atmosphere, generated great visibility with the Black Mountains in western North Carolina, and Mount Mitchell, visible along the far 
(left) horizon beyond the Tennessee Valley.

23 October 2019
Looking Across High Knob Lake Basin
View From Eagle Knob Toward Mt. Mitchell
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

23 October 2019
Roan Mountain On Distant Horizon
Looking From High Knob Lookout Tower
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

23 October 2019
Looking Southeast Across High Knob Massif
Mount Rogers-Whitetop Mountain On Left Horizon
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

22 October 2019
Adam Childress Farm
Base of Pine Mountain Near Sunset
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

A setting sun made Pine Mountain appear to have 
more color than was actually present late on 22 October, however, this created picturesque scenes along Route 611 in northern Dickenson County of far southwestern Virginia (beneath crystal clear skies).

22 October 2019
Adam Childress Farm
Base of Pine Mountain Near Sunset
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

22 October 2019
Adam Childress Farm
Base of Pine Mountain Near Sunset
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved