With Hurricane Isaac continuing to spin inland, Northeast Tennessee residents will not be feeling the brunt of the storm like Louisiana, Arkansas and Missouri, but a chance of rain is likely.
“It’s going to continue ... to take a clockwise turn through the nation’s midsection and up into the Ohio Valley by Sunday,” Shawn O’Neill, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Morristown said. “In the meantime for us, we won’t see very much effects of the storm itself until the latter part of the week. A lot of the rainfall is going to be ... primarily on the Northeastern quadrant of the storm. So, as it tracks through Louisiana and into Arkansas that will set up ... western and portions of Middle Tennessee for some pretty heavy rainfall.”
O’Neill said while the intensity of the hurricane will weaken as it continues over land, lots of rain will be expected in those particular areas for extended periods of time.
“Locations along the immediate eastern sector of the storm path are likely to see 4 inches ... but those amounts are going to taper off rather dramatically to the east, so that east of Nashville, southeast of Lexington, Ky., and more toward our area, we’re only looking at averages of about an inch to an inch and a half, but there could be some locally heavy rainfall amounts of up to 3 inches of isolated storms.”
He said Northeast Tennessee has around a 30 percent chance of afternoon showers and thunderstorms throughout the week, with Sunday and Monday expected to have a large portion of rain.
“We’re going to see some high-level cloudiness from Isaac throughout the week, but generally our skies are going to be mostly sunny,” O’Neill said.
He said while the hurricane does seem to be a slow-moving storm, his hopes will be that rain from the storm will hit areas that need the rain.
“The hope is that the drought stricken areas will get some rainfall ... so that they can start to recover,” O’Neill said.
While Northeast Tennessee’s drought concern has been lifted, Anthony Shelton, an agriculture extension agent with the University of Tennessee Extension in Washington County, said a steady rain is never turned away in the area.
“At this point, we’re at a much better place on where we were in June –– livestock, crops, everything. We’ve not had rain in the past few days. Warmer temperatures dry up the ground quicker. We do have some later crops. We do have a second cut in the hay coming on, so we do still need rainfall,” Shelton said.
He said the rain seen at the beginning of the month helped with soil conditions, as well as filled up ponds, streams and stabilized the water table.
“What we do is a subsoil moisture and a topsoil moisture and both of those have greatly improved in this area the past four, five, six weeks,” Shelton said.
He said with any big storms, wind and hail are always a concern.
“When we’re trying to harvest a lot of these crops, it can blow stuff over. It makes it hard on the harvests, so we worry probably more on wind damage and hail damage, than we do on decent rainfall,” Shelton said. “Of course, we don’t want floods, but ... I don’t think a half inch or an inch of rain is going to be a problem whatsoever. I would say in certain instances, we are kind of at the point it’d be nice to have some rain to kind of further the grass, livestock and some other things. We still need to have that steady rainfall.”