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Knoxville's rainy 2012 contrasts with widespread drought

12:20 AM, Jan 4, 2013   |    comments
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Knoxville has seen its share of weather events in 2012, including plenty of storms through East Tennessee. That is to blame for a wetter than normal year, according to records kept by the National Weather Service and NOAA.

According to the NWS Knoxville saw 53.64 inches of rain in the last year; that's more than seven inches of rain above normal levels.

"We're in a kind of progressive weather pattern," said NWS meteorologist David Hotz. "During the summertime, we had a ridge of high pressure that remained over that area."

The city had more rain than many other parts of the Southeast and Midwest, who saw drought conditions.

Places like Dallas, Texas, Little Rock, Arkansas, and Topeka, Kansas all saw significantly less water in 2012. Topeka, specifically, had a deficit of 13.4 inches of rain.

Hotz said one reason is the early July wind storm that hit the Mid-Atlantic called a "derecho." That unusual storm broke a streak of dry weather in the Ohio Valley and Appalachia.

"Does two things: One, it does starts thunderstorm development which you need for rainfall, and two, when you suppress the air, it really warms up," Hotz added.

Knoxville has seen a see-saw of rainy years, followed by drought conditions that left us too dry. Specifically in 2009 and 2010, East Tennessee saw a deficit in rainfall for the year.

Here are some other 2012 recordings from the NWS:

  • Tri Cities: 46.15" (+5.14" than normal)
  • Chattanooga: 50.78" (-1.7" than normal)
  • Nashville: 45.82" (-1.43" than normal)
  • Memphis: 47.12" (-2.77" than normal)

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