Just when tri-state residents thought they had escaped a three-year drought, a dry February has the region sliding back down the same dusty, parched slope.
"We're back where we don't want to be," said WTVC NewsChannel 9 meteorologist David Glenn.
After a soggy December and nearly normal rainfall in January, February fell nearly two inches behind the average, according to the National Weather Service. So far for the year, Chattanooga is 4.61 inches behind the average year-to-date figure, records show.
"After coming off a very wet January, February was very sub-par," Mr. Glenn said.
Evidence of the disparity showed up on the latest U.S. Drought Monitor report released Thursday. Parts of Murray, Whitfield, McMinn, Bradley and Polk counties are back in "moderate drought," with part of Polk County listed as "severe."
Hamilton, Marion and a wide stripe of other Tennessee counties are listed as "abnormally dry." In contrast, the drought reports for Jan. 27 and Feb. 3 showed almost all of the drought pushed out of the state, with only a few counties even listed as "dry."
Meteorologists say Chattanooga has a good chance for some soaking rain this weekend, with strong chances for rain today, Saturday and Sunday.
The region really needs for the rain to come through, Mr. Glenn said.