NASHVILLE (AP) — Memphis was hot and dry in July while rainfall in the Tri-Cities set an all-time record. In the middle, Nashville almost caught up on annual rainfall.
The weather maker wasn’t even in Tennessee.
National Weather Service meteorologist Danny Gant in Memphis said a stubborn high pressure ridge has taken up residence over western Arkansas and eastern Oklahoma. It blocks storm systems from moving into the Mississippi Valley. So, how did Nashville end up with the fourth-wettest July on record?
“The farther you are from the ridge, the greater the chance of showers and thunderstorms,” Gant said.
By comparison, Memphis is 15.3 inches below on rainfall for the year to date. Nashville is 1.45 inches short.
The major cities in East Tennessee were all ahead of normal July rainfall amounts.
The NWS reported the Tri-Cities received 12.70 inches of rain in July — a very moist 8.01 inches above normal. NWS forecaster Kate Guilet said that broke the old record set in July 1949 by 3 inches. Chattanooga ended the month 1.96 inches to the plus side while Knoxville was 1.19 inches above normal.
The outlook for the rest of August shows equal chances of above and below normal rainfall in the state’s eastern section.
NWS forecaster Bobby Boyd in Nashville said a high pressure ridge that had scorched and parched Middle Tennessee in June began breaking down early in July, but not before a week of 100-degree days. Nashville had its hottest Independence Day on record with a high of 103 degrees.
That start gave Nashville its second-hottest July on record, with an average daily temperature of 83.5 degrees. The hottest-ever July was in 1954 when the average temperature was 84.1 degrees.
Boyd said 2012 remains on track to become the warmest year ever in Nashville.
Records show Chattanooga, Knoxville and the Tri-Cities all had July heat that ranked in their individual Top 10s.
The U.S. Drought Monitor showed on July 31 that conditions had improved in Tennessee. In mid-July, nearly all of the state ranged from abnormally dry to extreme drought. The latest assessment showed only the Reelfoot Lake region in northwestern Tennessee and a strip of counties along the Mississippi River into Memphis is extreme drought conditions. Most of West Tennessee was in severe drought.
Most of Middle Tennessee was shown in moderate drought, while the Cumberland Plateau was abnormally dry.
The assessment showed none of East Tennessee suffering from lack of moisture.
The outlook through October, however, indicated the drought was likely to persist or intensify over the western half of Tennessee.