The Tri-Cities region received 12.08 inches of rain this July, making it both wettest July and month on record. Typically, the area sees approximately three and a half inches of rain in this same time period. Records were shattered as northeast Tennessee blasted past the previous record of 9.53 that was set in 1949.
In Johnson County, 12 family members recently attending the Shoun family reunion, including five adults and seven children, decided to hike to Gentry Creek Falls. Although they left at approximately 12:30pm, the group did not make it home until 9:30pm that night. Muddy waters rushed toward the group in a flash flood that sent them scrambling to higher ground for safety. They thought a dam had broken, said Mary Lee Trenthem. Two adults managed to cross the creek and walk three miles to get help. Responders from Mountain City, Laurel Bloomery and Shady Valley came to the rescue. With the help of ropes and weighted bags, the children, some as young as four years old, were carried to safety.
Despite the torrential storms this area of the country has been receiving, more than 50 percent of the United States is suffering from a major drought that is rapidly spreading. According to Bryan Fuchs, a climatologist with the National Drought Mitigation Center located in Lincoln, Nebraska, some areas of the country are in a 16 to 18 inch rain deficit. According to statistics released by The United States Department of Agriculture, 55 percent of the nations pasture and rangeland was considered to be in poor to very poor condition. The drought is considered to be one of the worst in nearly 50 years.
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