Wed
Jun 13 2007
01:29 pm

Serious drought conditions continue throughout the South. The National Weather Service has issued the following statement for East Tennessee:

...ATTENTION: DEEPENING DROUGHT OVER THE REGION...

D3 (EXTREME) DROUGHT CONDITIONS EXIST OVER ALL OF SOUTHEAST TENNESSEE, THE SOUTHERN HALF OF THE CUMBERLAND PLATEAU, AND THEN EASTWARD TO ROUGHLY A KNOXVILLE TO GATLINBURG LINE. THIS INCLUDES MOST OF THE GREAT SMOKY MOUNTAINS. IT ALSO COVERS CHEROKEE AND CLAY COUNTIES IN NORTH CAROLINA.

D2 (SEVERE) DROUGHT CONDITIONS EXIST OVER ALMOST ALL OF THE NORTHERN HALF OF THE CUMBERLAND PLATEAU, ACROSS THE NORTHERN PART OF THE GREAT VALLEY, AND ALL OF NORTHEAST TENNESSEE, EXCEPT THE FURTHERMOST TIP. IT ALSO COVER A SLIM STRIP OF SOUTHERN SCOTT COUNTY, VIRGINIA.

D1 (MODERATE) DROUGHT COVERS THE NORTHERNMOST CUMBERLAND PLATEAU, THE FAR NORTHEAST TIP OF TENNESSEE AND VIRTUALLY ALL OF EXTREME SOUTHWEST VIRGINIA.

The report also indicates record low water tables, soil moisture, and stream flows. It also says that prolonged periods of rain and/or tropical storm activity and a wet summer, fall, and winter are needed to recover from a long term drought, but this is not expected. Citizens are urged to conserve water.

Here is a snapshot of rainfall in Knoxville (TYS) since 2000 (source):

The average rainfall for May 2000-2006 was 4.68 inches. May 2007 rainfall was 1.48 inches. The average YTD rainfall for May 2000-2006 was 22.29 inches. May YTD rainfall was 12.81 inches.

The National Weather Service also notes the following:

• Knoxville received 1.48 inches of rain in May, which was 3.20 inches below normal. It ranked as the 13th driest May on record at Knoxville. Measurable rainfall occurred on only five days, and only one of those days had more than one-quarter of an inch of rainfall. The heaviest rain fell on the 5th when 1.20 inches of rain was recorded, which accounted for nearly all of the rain for the entire month. The driest May out of 137 years at Knoxville was back in 1941, when only 0.71 inches was recorded.

• The monthly average temperature at Knoxville was 70.0 degrees, which was 4.0 degrees above normal. It ranked as the 23rd warmest May on record at Knoxville. The warmest May at Knoxville was back in 1962, when the average temperature was 74.0 degrees.

• Knoxville received a total of only 9.15 inches of rain this spring, which was 4.69 inches below normal. It ranked as the 23rd driest spring on record at Knoxville. The driest spring at Knoxville was back in 1925, when only 5.80 inches was recorded.

• The average seasonal temperature at Knoxville this spring was 61.0 degrees, which was 3.1 degrees above normal. It tied with 1974 as the 10th warmest spring on record at Knoxville. The warmest spring at Knoxville was back in 1974, when the average temperature was 62.6 degrees.

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metulj's picture

West Tennessee, maybe. East

West Tennessee, maybe. East Tennessee, not so much a drought. It think this is an between period for La Nina/El Nino.

True happiness is knowing you are a hypocrite. -- Ivor Cutler

R. Neal's picture

Huh?(Tell it to my lawn and

Huh?

(Tell it to my lawn and my tomato plants! They seem to agree with the NWS assessment, although that and my rain gauge are only anecdotal evidence...)

metulj's picture

Drought is one of those

Drought is one of those fuzzy natural hazards. Ken Mitchell, here at Rutgers, says that you know it's a drought just about the time it's over.

True happiness is knowing you are a hypocrite. -- Ivor Cutler

metulj's picture

Whoops. For some damn

Whoops. For some damn reason, the precip probability map is pointing to the temperature.

True happiness is knowing you are a hypocrite. -- Ivor Cutler

GDrinnen2's picture

Tomato

My tomato plants are getting huge, but showing no signs of producing. Is this what you are experiencing R. Neal?

R. Neal's picture

No, we just planted them

No, we just planted them about three weeks ago and they are still small and all wilted.

Were yours out before the freeze?

Factchecker's picture

Ours maters are like skb's.

Ours maters are like skb's. Very puny and were planted after the freeze.

On the bright side I haven't had to mow much at all and the temps and humidity are comfortable. The A/C doesn't run much and we can turn it off and leave windows open much of the time. My belief is that we won't get a normal rain pattern until the summer heat and humidity truly arrive.

I'm sure this prolonged change in climate has nothing to do with climate change.

redmondkr's picture

I sold the old home place

I sold the old home place next door seven years ago after replacing all the galvanized piping that was installed in 1953, connecting it to the public water supply, and shutting down its deep-well jet pump. My neighbor asked me a couple of weeks ago to resurrect the system for lawn and garden water.

After a couple of days of finagling, and a bit of cussin', it's running again. It has always been a dependable water source but I wouldn't recommend drinking it now. As I recall the foot valve is in about thirty feet of water ninety-five feet below the surface.


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R. Neal's picture

deep-well jet pump Funny you

deep-well jet pump

Funny you should mention that. We were a little shocked looking at our water bill (we have a separate meter for the sprinkler system) for May 07 v. May 06, which is one of the things, besides our tomatoes and noticing that Little River is right near dried up, that prompted me to check the rainfall for this year.

We had a well/pump for the sprinkler system in Florida. It was about 40+ years old, installed when the house was built. Apparently they don't do that much any more.

We were thinking we should look into a well and pump for the sprinklers here. I was wondering how deep you'd have to go. I think ours in FL was almost as deep. Might not be as expensive in TN as I thought.

My Grandma and Grandpa's only source of fresh water (up until I was about 12 and the county laid a water line out to their place and the family went in to buy them indoor plumbing) was a well with a hand pulley and a bucket out in the front yard. It couldn't have been more than 30 or 40 feet deep. I pulled lots of buckets of water up from that thing. It was the coldest, sweetest tasting water you ever had on a hot summer day.

redmondkr's picture

From the time we moved into

From the time we moved into that house until Dad had the well drilled in '53, somebody had to carry water in a two gallon pail from a spring about a hundred yards away. Pack rat that I am, I still have that pail and the aluminum dipper. When I got old enough to carry water I hated wash day (Monday) with a passion. Mom always rinsed the clothes many times more than really necessary. And yes, there is nothing quite like the taste of well water. I really should con my neighbor into testing that water to see if it is still safe to drink.


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Eleanor A's picture

Our dogwoods are starting to

Our dogwoods are starting to wilt, I noticed. I think I'm going to have to start watering the trees in earnest pretty soon.

bizgrrl's picture

Yes, I would water the

Yes, I would water the dogwoods. We had 2 nice sized dogwoods in FL that died due to lack of water. At the time I didn't know you had to water large dogwoods during semi-drought times.

Up Goose Creek's picture

Travel report

I can personally attest that Buckets of rain were falling in SE WV last week, More was falling today, as well as in SW VA. Except for a couple of 15 minute downpours I've been driving in sunshine most of the day but saw many dark clouds, mostly in the rear view mirror.

My point is that a lot of that water is in the Clinch river watershed and/or the Holston watershed. And Sevier county got a downpour today. So I don't feel too guilty about watering the garden with a hose. I would like some real live rainwater, though. PleasePleasePlease.

I returned home to a 10" Zuchinni and a 4" cucumber which I promptly made into a salad. The tomatoes are coming along quite nicely and I expect to have an overabundance of cucumbers in the next 2 weeks.

___________________________________
Less is the new More - Karrie Jacobs

redmondkr's picture

With this news the drought

With this news the drought situation becomes more serious.


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