December 2015 was all about wetness and anomalously mild temperatures, with a general 7.00″ to 11.00″ of total precip across the great High Knob Massif.
Water plants for the City of Norton and Town of Big Stone Gap both recorded 21 days of measurable precipitation during the month. No wonder whitewater gushed out of the high country.
Superintendent Gary Hampton, of the Big Stone Gap WP measured ( with a little help from me ) a total of 10.45″ of December precipitation at Big Cherry Dam.
Gary measured 5.29″ just during December 24-30, as much as reported in Burkes Garden during the entire month of December and significantly more than measured at several official sites.
Climate Statistics For December 2015
( Lower Elevations of Russell Fork Basin )
Clintwood 1 W – Elevation 1560 feet
Average Daily MAX: 57.6 degrees
Average Daily MIN: 35.4 degrees
MEAN: 46.5 degrees
MAX Temperature: 73 degrees
MIN Temperature: 19 degrees
Total Precipitation: 5.24″
2015 Precipitaton: 49.79″
( Northern Base of High Knob Massif )
Cit of Norton – Elevation 2141 feet
Average Daily MAX: 54.9 degrees
Average Daily MIN: 34.6 degrees
MEAN: 44.8 degrees
MAX Temperature: 68 degrees
MIN Temperature: 16 degrees
Total Precipitation: 6.70″
2015 Precipitation: 64.30″
( Along the Tennessee Valley Divide )
Nora 4 SSE – Elevation 2650 feet
Average Daily MAX: 55.0 degrees
Average Daily MIN: 42.6 degrees
MEAN: 48.8 degrees
MAX Temperature: 70 degrees
MIN Temperature: 20 degrees
Total Precipitation: 4.51″
2015 Precipitation: 47.01″
A Few December Totals Across Southwestern Virginia
Nora 4 SSE
Clintwood 1 W
Wise 3 E
Wytheville 1 S
City of Norton Water Plant
Big Stone Gap WWTP
Big Stone Gap Water Plant
Big Cherry Lake Dam
The 10.45″ of precipitation at Big Cherry Dam brought the 2015 tally to 74.68″ and pushed the December average for the 2008-2015 period to 8.16″ ( 8-year average ).
*Some missing data between weekly hand-measurements throughout the year means that this total is lower than what actually fell at the Dam. Snow core data during February 2015 helped prevent a major loss of data when 73″of snow fell across upper elevations and the head of Big Cherry Lake basin.