The winter storm responsible for the deep snow impacted the mountain region during 23-24 December.
This followed bitter cold that featured night-time low temperatures below zero during much of the 15-22 December period.
A trace of Christmas morning snow depth in Clintwood was followed by a major winter storm during 27-28 December.
A 1" snow depth on 24 December melted to only a trace on southern exposures within the town of Clintwood by Christmas morn.
*This was part of a bitterly cold December with mean montly temperaturs in upper 10s to middle 20s (mean monthly temps).
Development of SW flow aided snowfall into middle-upper elevations along the Powell Valley Anticline (High Knob Landform).
*These depths were down from 14" on the morning of 21 December at Norton WP, with deeper depths (20" or more) across higher northern slopes of the High Knob Massif).
The day following Christmas found a general 1"-2" snow accumulation around Clintwood, Norton, and Wise, with 2" to locally as much as 5" reported across the upper elevations above 3000 feet.
Precipitation totals during the 24-26th period reached 0.46" at Clintwood 1 W, 0.78"-0.82" in the City of Norton, and up to 1.12" in the high country near High Knob.
Bare ground was again featured across
Bare ground was again featured, for the second consecutive Christmas, across the entire Appalachian range south of the Pennsylvania border during 24-25th (*).
A fitting conclusion for this driest year on record (45.00-50.00" of total precip in Big Cherry Basin of High Knob) within the local mountains!
White Christmas IN THE DARK!
The second consecutive White Christmas
Clintwood 1 W: 12.2"
City of Norton WP: 12.6"
Nora 4 SSE on Long Ridge: 15.0"
High Chaparral of High Knob Massif: 18.5"
*Eagle Knob of High Knob Massif: 23.0"
Clintwood 1 W: 36.2" at 1560 feet
Nora 4 SSE: 46.3" at 2650 feet on Long Ridge
High Chaparral of High Knob Massif: 55.0" at 3300 feet
**Eagle Knob of High Knob Massif: 67.0" at 4178 feet
BARE Christmas. Following two wintry Christmases the only signs of winter in the High Knob Massif on Christmas Day 2011 were icicles hanging off cliffs.
Wet conditions arrived just in time for Christmas, with snow melting away from southern slopes and exposed crest lines of the High Knob Massif. Only colder, upper north slopes retained some snow into Christmas day.
White Christmas Eve & Morning
Only highest elevations, mostly above
The holiday period in 2015 was all about water, lots and lots of water, with 2.96" of rain in the City of Norton and 5.29" at Big Cherry Dam within the High Knob Massif during the 24-30 December period.
Whitewater, not snow, was again the featured attraction during the Christmas Holiday period in 2016 with a general 2.50" to 3.00"+ of precipitation during the
An idyllic White Christmas developed along and north of the High Knob Massif as snow began falling during Christmas Eve, turning heavy into the overnight hours of Christmas Morning on northerly upslope flow.
A brown mountain landscape dominated the central and southern Appalachians during Christmas 2019.
*No advisory or warning was issued.
During the past 30 years some 20 Christmases were white on upper north slopes in the High Knob Massif (67%), with the remainder of the area having less than 50% of Christmas morning's arrive under a cover of snow.
My Data Sources
The above would not be possible without many individuals who contribute weather observations from across this mountain area. Collectively, they help form the bigger picture of our mountain climate. To them I give appreciation, honor and respect.
Steve Blankenbecler - Eagle Knob
Cody Blankenbecler - Eagle Knob
Joe & Darlene Fields - High Chaparral
Otis & Nancy Ward - Robinson Knob
James & Carol Bolling - Little Mountain
Cal Adams - Little Mountain
Jo & Johnny Combs - Flat Gap
Janet Couch - The Flatwoods
Gary Hampton & Staff - Big Cherry Dam
Gary Hampton & Staff - Big Stone Gap WP
Andrew Greear & Staff - Norton WP
Jack Pitts & Mark Quillin - Appalachia Lake
Jennifer & Tracy Garrison - Cracker Neck
Ida Holyfield - Skeens Ridge
Dr. Theresa Dunton - Powell Valley
Addison & Elizabeth Stallard - Powell Valley
Sharon Daniels - Powell Valley
Past observations from Eagle Knob
The United States Forest Service,
Tracy Garrison & Brian Markham at the Town of Coeburn Filter Plant ( past years included Ernie Mullins, Larry Gilliam, Ronnie Steffey and Jerry ).
Harold L. Jerrell
Many others also deserve credits and thanks, and if not listed you know who you are ( I have been blessed to know so many over the years ).
Height anomalies are a means to capture the longer-term trend and to view the major forcing features within the atmosphere.
Additional graphics, sea level pressure, 925-850 MB wind fields, and air temperatures are shown for a few memorable storm events important to past Christmases.