We picked up three-tenths of an inch of rain over the weekend, but January will still end dry. The usual five inches of rain we typically get in Chattanooga during this month is nowhere close! With no rain expected through Wednesday, January 2018 will go down as the third driest January on record.

The Climate Prediction Center released its newest Drought Monitor last Thursday. Most of the Tennessee Valley was abnormally dry earlier this month, however, now we're in a moderate drought.

Drought is defined as a moisture deficit bad enough to have social, environmental or economic effects. Rainfall and ground moisture are both taken into consideration.

January is the third month in a row where we've seen below normal rainfall, which means the Tennessee Valley is also considered to be in a short-term drought.

In a moderate drought, here is what can occur:

  • Minor damage to crops
  • Low streams and reservoirs
  • Water shortage
  • Voluntary water restrictions

If February is as dry, we could see an increase to a 'severe drought' status. A severe drought status means any of the following can occur:

  • Loss of crops or pastures
  • Water shortages
  • Mandatory water restriction

Local farms are starting to see minor effects in Wildwood, Georgia. Channel 3 talked to Wildwood Harvest earlier today, who says ponds are lower, and they're using city water to keep cattle watered.

The soil also plays a roll in all of this. Our dominant soil type is clay at the surface and beneath. The lack of pores makes it more difficult for the soil to absorb water. This may mean the ground looks wet after this weekend's rain, but don't be deceived! We need the rain!

Download the WRCB Weather App to stay in touch as we continue to track the latest drought data.

Have a weather-related story? Feel free to email Meteorologist Brittany Beggs.