January started off with a bang as we hit a record high of 77°on the very first day of the year. However, in typical East Tennessee fashion, we saw snow just two days later. Knoxville picked up an inch and a third while Gatlinburg and portions of the Smokies saw more than 8″.
When it was all said and done, the month of January would finish with temperatures almost two-and-a-half degrees below average and with over four inches of snow which is also more than an inch above average for the month.
We didn’t see as much snow in February with only a tenth of an inch recorded, but just like in the past several years, February turned out to be a wet one as we finished the month with a four-inch surplus. A majority of this fell on Feb. 22 which led to another round of February flooding.
Before these rains came, we saw a few isolated brush fires in the Smokies and winds gusting over 90mph over the higher peaks on Feb. 17.
March was a warm month finishing more than three-and-a-half degrees above average, but that didn’t stop us from seeing a rather substantial weekend snowstorm on March 12 with even some thunder thrown in for good measure. Knoxville saw six-and-a-half inches of snow and totals near a foot in some spots across the Plateau into Kentucky.
Just a little over two weeks later on March 30, strong winds reared their ugly heads once again which led to another round of wildfires across the Smokies including the Wears Valley region.
After a quiet and slightly cooler April, May was a little more active as it usually is with a round of severe weather in Southeast Kentucky on May 26 with several tornado warnings, but thankfully no confirmed reports of damage.
As the calendar turned to June, Mother Nature turned up the heat. Knoxville had 12 days of 90 degrees or higher including three days that registered 96 degrees.
The heat continued into July with 18 of the 31 days at 90 degrees or higher which led to temperatures nearly two degrees above average for the entire month.
Even with all the heat, there was a major flood event from the night of July 20 into the early morning hours of July 21 where what seemed like endless lightning and rainfall poured onto portions of the area. One of the hardest hit areas was in the Powell community where more than seven inches of rain was recorded.
The faucet seemed to shut off for August, September and October as we finished each of these months with below-average precipitation, even with slightly cooler-than-average temperatures.
This trifecta of dry months led to an expansion in drought conditions though for most of the area, especially across the Southern half of East Tennessee.
We started to make up some ground in the drought conditions in November, In fact, we have seen enough rainfall over the past month in a half that we will end 2022 with an overall surplus for the year.