Very exciting trip home from Oak Ridge yesterday. SOCM staffer Ann League was near my place in Campbell County and heading back to Knoxville a little bit before I left my meeting and started home. Here's a photo she took a little before 6pm:
By the time I got to this spot around 7:30 pm, the flow had lessened quite a bit, but there were stretches with a lot of debris and significant streams of water still running across the road. A little further down I had to stop for about ten minutes while TDOT finished clearing a small landslide.
As I turned up Terry Creek I noted that it was out of its banks in places. There was a lot of standing water in the usual soggy places at the lower end of the lane. As I drove further the debris was mostly leaves, twigs and small branches that had been pushed onto the road from the ditches. The lane to my house had fresh deep ruts but I encountered no problem getting up the last hill on the driveway.
This morning I discovered more evidence that this had been a very significant storm event, and got some photos.
For comparison, this is a photo I took a few days ago (March 27th) of a short extension of the lane toward a crossing on Hudson branch:
And this is how it looked this morning:
Now for two of the most amazing changes at this end of the holler: The first photo is from May 2010 after another significant rain. The second is a view in November of 2011 -- note the presence of another tree across the creek bed, just above the moss covered one. This one came down the creek after a beaver dam breach a couple of years ago, and had shifted a little bit further across the channel in subsequent high flows. The third photo is one I took today:
The storm flow also scoured the dirt from roots of a standing tree. If you look closely you can see water flowing on the other side of the roots:
Here's the one that really blew me away. The first photo taken October 18, 2009, shows two huge tree trunks that fell across the creek and have been there at least eight years, one of them longer than that. The second photo is what this intersection of Hudson Branch and its side channel looked like this morning:
I found most of this (former) large woody dam 50 to 70 yards downstream:
Here's at least part of the other log...used my telephoto so it's a little grainy:
These little headwater streams are very dynamic! It will be interesting to watch what happens now. One of the things I'll be watching is how pools got shifted. The section of Hudson Branch where the logs used to be often dries up over the late summer and fall except for pools here and there. TWRA has found blackside dace (listed as "threatened" on the federal Endangered Species list) in this stretch. Such pools are important habitat for many aquatic species. I made a predictions this morning about where pools might be after this streambed reshuffling...I'll keep an eye out to see what actually happens.
I didn't get around to peek up the Frog Pond Hollow drainage -- will try to do that tomorrow.