Oct 25, 2022 - News

Nashville gets some rain, drought concerns remain

Data: NOAA; Map: Erin Davis/Axios Visuals
Data: NOAA; Map: Erin Davis/Axios Visuals

Nashville will get some much-needed rain Tuesday, but it won't be enough to reverse the effects of the regional drought.

The latest: National Weather Service meteorologist Mark Rose tells Axios the city could see as much as an inch of rain Tuesday afternoon and evening.

  • "It won't completely alleviate the drought, but it will push it back a little bit."

Zoom in: Fall has been unusually dry this year. Rain was well below average in September. As of Monday, this month is on track to be the seventh-driest October on record, assistant state climatologist William Tollefson tells Axios.

By the numbers: 74% of Tennessee is abnormally dry, according to figures updated last week by the U.S. Drought Monitor.

  • Tollefson says these kinds of conditions can lower air quality.

Zoom out: Drought conditions are having a widespread impact.

  • The Mississippi River has reached record lows, straining West Tennessee farmers who depend on the waterway to transport their grains, per the Tennessee Lookout.
  • WPLN reports the dry spell is causing trees in the Warner Parks to shed their fall leaves at a rapid pace, before they've reached their vibrant peaks. Usually nocturnal armadillos have been seen during the day looking for water.
Data: NOAA; Map: Erin Davis/Axios Visuals

What's next: The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's seasonal drought outlook, released last week, projected the ongoing drought would continue in Nashville and much of northern Middle Tennessee.

Yes, but: Brad Pugh, a meteorologist at the Climate Prediction Center, tells Axios "forecast confidence is relatively low since there could be beneficial rainfall and short-term improvement during the next two weeks."

💭 Thought bubble from Axios' climate and energy reporter Andrew Freedman: With another La Niña winter coming up, Tennessee may see some relief from a weather pattern that could frequent the Midwest. Of course, no two La Niña years are exactly alike, so the late-fall-into-winter weather pattern remains to be seen.

  • The Nashville area is in a better position than the southern tier of the country and the Southwest, which is more likely to remain mired in drought conditions.

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