Drought persists despite record rainfall

By Brian Knox | Published Saturday, August 2, 2014

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Wise County received a record amount of rain in July, but it wasn’t enough to end the drought.

Weather watcher Doyle Green of Decatur recorded 8.08 inches of rain for the month. That easily broke the old record of 6.78 inches set in 1996 (based on records that date back to 1974).

The average amount of rainfall for July is 2.51 inches.

Welcome Rain

WELCOME RAIN – Yards and pastures are usually yellowed by heat and high temperatures this time of year, but the local countryside is remarkably green following record rainfall in July. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

Most of July’s rainfall came in one day – July 17 – when a storm system dumped 6.65 inches of rain in Decatur, according to Green. Northern parts of the county recorded close to 10 inches of rain from that storm.

Even record rainfall was not enough to bring the year-to-date total up to the average amount for the first seven months of the year. For the year, Wise County has now received 20.95 inches of rain, still more than 2 inches below the average of 23.17 over the past 40 years.

The rainfall also did little to put a dent in the ongoing drought conditions for our area. The northern part of Wise County that received the heaviest amount of rain in July is in a “severe drought” designation while the rest of Wise County remains in an “extreme drought” designation, according to a U.S. Department of Agriculture report released Thursday.

Lake levels at Lake Bridgeport, which saw a slight rise after the July 17 rainfall, are now back close to pre-storm levels.

Temperatures stayed unseasonably cool for much of the month. We hit 100 degrees for a high on one date, July 14. The high temperature stayed below 90 degrees eight days during the month with highs under 80 for three of those dates.

The average high temperature in the month was 91.3. Oddly enough, that’s the exact same average high temperature as in July of 2013.

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