My Forecast For Today ( February 3 )
ALERT For High Stream Levels Along Steep Creeks Draining The High Knob Massif And For Strong Rises On Mainstem Rivers. Caution Is Advised.
ALERT For Strong SSE-SSW Winds Overnight Into Wednesday Morning In Advance And Right Along A Squall Line Of Potentially Strong-Severe Storms
Strong winds are expected across the entire area but with enhancements along high mountain ridges and in typical mountain wave breaking zones ( e.g., Powell Valley of Wise County & Clinch River Valley of Russell-Tazewell counties in southwest Virginia & along Pine-Black Mountain in SE KY ).
ALERT For Heavy Rain Potential & Strong Rises On Creeks In The Midnight-Noon Period of Wednesday
The threat for strong rises on creeks will be greatest in those draining the High Knob Massif where snow melt has steep creeks running swift, and in any locations that might have downpours in thunderstorms during the Midnight to Noon period of today.
Overnight Into Mid-Morning
Increasing clouds with showers & thunderstorms becoming likely during the midnight-sunrise period. Strong to locally severe storms possible. Windy. SSE winds 15-35 mph, with higher gusts, below 2700 feet. SSE-S winds 25-40 mph, with gusts of 50-60+ mph, along upper elevation ridges ( locally severe winds to 60+ mph also possible in mountain wave zones ). Unseasonably warm & humid. Temperatures varying from upper 40s to the upper 50s.
The main threat from showers & thunderstorms, other than heavy rainfall, will be the potential for downward transfer of powerful winds aloft to the surface. The main squall line is expected around sunrise along the Virginia-Kentucky border, reaching western Lee County first ( probably before sunrise ). Some development will be likely in advance of this main squall line during the overnight.
Rain & showers ending. Partly sunny. Winds SSW-WSW at 10-20 mph, with higher gusts. Temps widespread in the 40s to upper 50s-lower 60s ( tending to drop late ).
Tonight Into Mid-Morning Wednesday
Becoming cloudy and colder. Cloud bases obscuring upper elevations with freezing fog ( riming ) above 3000 to 3500 feet overnight into morning. Chance of flurries or snow showers overnight into the morning. SW winds shifting WNW to NW at 5-10 mph, with higher gusts across upper elevation mountain ridges. Temperatures varying from upper 10s to lower 20s along upper elevation ridges to the upper 20s to lower 30s by sunrise to mid-morning ( milder leeward of mountains toward the Tri-Cities ). Wind chill factors in the 10s & 20s into morning ( single digits at the highest elevations of the High Knob Massif ).
Weather Discussion ( February 2-3 )
My afternoon update is to add an ALERT for high water on steep creeks draining the High Knob Massif which are near flood stage. Be very careful along these roaring creeks.
Big Stony Creek was only 0.6 feet below flood stage as of 12:15 PM. A new stream level update at 4:15 PM showed a slight drop in the level to 5.5 feet ( 12″ below flood stage ).
Superintendent Andrew Greear, of the City of Norton Water Plant, reported at 4:00 PM that the ROAR of water there had also began to decrease a little. It was, indeed, a very close shave and a Flood Watch should have officially been issued before this event given recent snow melt + it’s intensity.
Little Stony Creek, as well as many other steep creeks, are ROARING and at very high levels along both sides of the Wise-Scott border into northern Lee County. Flooding of some low-lying and poor drainage places has occurred.
The Clinch River at Speers Ferry was a little less than 5 feet below flood stage at 4:15 PM, and is forecast to rise into Thursday.
Rainfall totals topped 2.00″ in the High Knob Massif into today, with 2.24″ reported by the Automated Gauge on Big Stony Creek. More than 2.00″ also looks to have fallen at Big Cherry Lake Dam.
With relatively rapid afternoon clearing of low clouds temps have risen and I have updated the MAXS, with beginning of cold air transport delayed until tonight.