Drought conditions deepen in parts of Tennessee - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Drought conditions deepen in parts of Tennessee

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - Drought conditions have deepened over the mountain region of eastern Tennessee and parts of the central region of the state, but it's summer as usual west of the Tennessee River.

A report prepared by National Weather Service senior hydrologist Brian Boyd in Morristown said extreme drought conditions now exist in the region that includes the Smoky Mountains.

In the central region of the state, Nashville had only a trace of precipitation during the first 19 days of the month, making for the driest start to August in 60 years.

The statewide outlook for the rest of August calls for near normal temperatures and rainfall.       Barring a big infusion of moisture from a passing tropical system, widespread relief isn't likely until November.

"Typically, we don't see rain start to pick up until we get a dip in the jet stream, typically between Veterans Day and Thanksgiving," said James Larosa, a hydrologist with the National Weather Service office in Nashville.

Weather Service records through Aug. 15 show rainfall deficits for the year at 22.18 inches in Chattanooga, 17.93 in Knoxville and 23.63 at the Tri-Cities.

The most pronounced drought conditions in Tennessee - characterized as extreme drought - exist in Polk, Monroe, Blount, Sevier, Cocke, Greene, Unicoi and Carter counties.

Severe drought conditions continue across much of the southern Cumberland Plateau.

Moderate dought conditions exist on the northern Cumberland Plateau, along the Tennessee-Kentucky border.

In West Tennessee, there's no lack of moisture anywhere in the region.

"We've gotten quite a bit of rain, especially this month," said Scott McNeil, a forecaster with the NWS office in Memphis.

The city received almost 5 inches of rain from Aug. 1 through Aug.20. Normal rainfall for the entire month is about 3 inches.

"All of West Tennessee is not experiencing any kind of drought," McNeil said.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)

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