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Dry, hot October worsens drought

Kevin Castle • Nov 17, 2007 at 12:00 AM

Throughout the region, many churches and businesses continue to call on divine intervention to put an end to one of the Tri-Cities’ driest periods on record.

“Let it rain, like cats and dogs,” reads the posting outside Andes-Straley Veterinary Hospital on Memorial Boulevard.

Data from the National Weather Service Climate Prediction Center give a more favorable, rainy and snowy, outlook for the coming months — that’s good news considering the region’s record-setting drought.

According to the NWS office in Morristown, the Tri-Cities region received 1.58 inches of rain in October. That’s 0.72 inch below typical rainfall for October and places the month as 23rd driest on record.

It marks the second consecutive month that rainfall figures ranked among the region’s lowest ever. The report also suggests the lack of rainfall was aided by several days of above-normal temperatures in October, including four new record-high temperatures of 88, 89, 88 and 84 degrees recorded on Oct. 3, 7, 8 and 14.

In 70 years of collecting weather information, the driest October on record was in 2000 when only two-tenths of an inch of rain fell in that 31-day period.

In comparison, just 210 miles to the southwest in Chattanooga, above-normal rainfall occurred last month, with 3.63 inches of rain recorded there.

Precipitation data shows the Tri-Cities at 16.95 inches below normal for the year.

Measurable rainfall that has occurred over the past two weeks has been beneficial, according to a report issued on NWS Morristown’s newest Drought Information Page,

“Droughts are not typically busted but rather go away quietly over a long period,” the report says.

“Persistence of drought is usually the best bet when predicting drought behavior. The tropical season is over. (The Tri-Cities) have to depend on large precipitation systems to bring us rainfall.

“Normally, this is flood season approaching in December through April. Still, the deep water table has not recovered, and so (the region) really needs a very wet fall, winter and spring to get out of the long-term drought. This is not likely to happen at this point. ... This (drought) has taken years to ramp up and shows no signs of stopping.”

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