( Lower Elevations Of Russell Fork Basin )
Clintwood 1 W – Elevation 1560 feet
Average Daily MAX: 34.9 degrees
Average Daily MIN: 12.3 degrees
MEAN Temperature: 23.6 degrees
Highest Temperature: 62 degrees
Lowest Temperature: -23 degrees
Total Precipitation: 4.60″
Total Snowfall: 30.4″
( Northern Base of High Knob Massif )
City of Norton – Elevation 2141 feet
Average Daily MAX: 32.1 degrees
Average Daily MIN: 11.1 degrees
MEAN Temperature: 21.6 degrees
Highest Temperature: 52 degrees
Lowest Temperature: -21 degrees
Total Precipitation: 6.33″
Total Snowfall: 40.0″
*A total of 6.23″ measured at the Appalachia Lake Water Plant along the northwestern flank of the High Knob Massif ( 7.0 air miles WSW of Norton Water Plant on Little Stone Mountain ).
The lack of snow during December & January was made up for during February 2015 which became the snowiest on record in the High Knob Massif area.
February 2015 Snowfall Totals
Clintwood 1 W: 30.4″
Big Stone Gap WWTP: 32.0″
City of Norton Water Plant: 40.0″
Wise 3 E: 41.7″
*High Chaparral of High Knob Massif: 56.0″
*Eagle Knob-High Knob Crest Zone: 73.0″
*Mean snow depths reached 30″ to 40″ above 3000 feet on southern exposed slopes, with 40″ to 50″ on northern exposed slopes. Drifts of 5 Feet or more were reported. Bottom snow in upper elevations included snow from January. These were the deepest snow depths reported in the southern Appalachians during February 2015 and this Winter Season.
**The 73.0″ of total snowfall reported for the main crest zone of the High Knob Massif is the most found from any location southward of the Northeastern USA.
High Knob Massif Crest Zone Snowfall Events
February 2-3 3.5″
February 5-6 0.5″
February 9-11 Significant Rime Episode
February 12-13 4.5″
February 14-15 5.0″
February 16-17 17.0″
*Snow Depths of 10″ to 14″ in High Chaparral community, with southern exposure, and 18″ to 24″ across northern exposed slopes
February 18-19 6.0″
February 20-21 28.0″
*Snow Depths of 30-40″ southern exposed slopes ( 36″ mean snow depth in High Chaparral ) with 40-50″+ northern exposed slopes. Much deeper drifts. Roads impassible. Residents stranded.
February 24 3.5″
February 25-26 4.5″
February 26-27 0.5″
To illustrate how epic this month was, it is most interesting to note that the 56.0″ of snow that fell during the one week period from February 14-21 was more snowfall than has ever been measured in the Tri-Cities during any winter.
*The snowiest winter in the Tri-Cities had 51.1″ during 1959-60.
More snow fell in the High Knob high country during this single week than has been measured in places like Burkes Garden, Boone-Banner Elk, Bluefield, etc…all winter and was only a little less than what has been reported atop Beech Mountain during the 2014-15 winter season.
A general 6.00″ to 8.00″+ of total precipitation fell across the High Knob Massif during February, with snow core data and snow depth reports indicating around 8.07″ of water equivalent precip fell amid the Big Cherry Lake basin.
Big Cherry Lake Dam Monthly Precipitation Totals During The Orographic Forcing Season Of 2014-15
March 1-16: 6.85″
January 1-March 16 Total: 17.79″
October 1-March 16 Total: 36.75″
Mean Per Month: 6.66″
*Total based upon snow core data and reported snow depths.
While the Harsh February of 2015 produced majestic scenes, it was destructive & hard on many mountain communities.
Dozens of structures were destroyed by heavy snow load ( weight ).
Reference the following links on the High Knob Landform: