Tennessee finally declared drought-free
Tennessee finally declared drought-free.
For the first time in well over a year, Tennessee is officially free of drought conditions.
In its latest update, issued Thursday, the U.S. Drought Monitor declared that no part of Tennessee is in a drought.
That was not a surprise, considering the Drought Monitor classified only 0.52 percent of the state — the extreme southeastern corner, east of Chattanooga — as being in a moderate drought, or a level one drought, one week earlier.
During the same week in May 2016, nearly a quarter of the state was in a moderate drought.
The drought has long been over along the northern Cumberland Plateau, but southern portions of the state continued to be classified as being in a drought by the U.S. Drought Monitor, which is a collaborative effort of several federal agencies, including the National Weather Service and the Department of Agriculture.
At its worst, part of East Tennessee was in a chart-topping exceptional drought, while the northern plateau was in an extreme drought.
At the start of the calendar year, nearly half the state was in at least a moderate drought, with 20 percent in a severe drought.
The drought conditions contributed to an unusually busy wildfire season during the months of October and November, before an uptick in the amount of rain seen across the state began to improve conditions in December.