BY O.J. EARLY
With the official start of summer on Friday, East Tennesseans may be in luck.
It's going to be hot from now through August, but probably not as sweltering as the last three summers.
That's according to the latest local weather predictions for summer 2013 from the National Weather Service (NWS) in Morristown.
"Right now, it looks like temperature-wise it is going to tend to be warmer than normal," said Derek Eisentrout, meteorologist with the NWS in Morristown.
In Upper East Tennessee, rainfall totals are expected to be about average for a typical summer season, Eisentrout said.
His projections are for June through August.
Temperatures this summer are expected to be higher-than-normal for much of the U.S., especially in the South, according to the NWS.
"The summers of 2010-12 were the hottest three consecutive summers in the U.S. since at least 1895," NWS Chief Meteorologist Dr. Todd Crawford said in a release.
"The heat was due, in part, to a combination of warmer-than-normal North Atlantic temperatures, a lack of El Nino conditions and expanding drought conditions."
Crawford added: "Our final analysis suggests that this summer will not be as hot as the previous three, but will still be characterized by widespread areas of above-normal temperatures, especially across the southern and western U.S."
SEVERE WEATHER OUTLOOK
The NWS in Morristown doesn't make local long-term severe weather predictions.
But with an active hurricane season already predicted by the NWS, it's possible that East Tennessee could see more storms.
"With [Hurricane] Sandy, we got all of that snow," said Jessica Winton, a meteorologist with the NWS in Morristown. "They [hurricanes] can affect us. It just really depends on where it goes and how it moves."
Higher-than-normal temperatures can also help produce inclement weather, Winton said.
"If it's going to be above-average temperature-wise, we have a better chance of getting storms," Winton said. "But again, it depends on a number factors."
Locally, severe weather is mostly likely to strike in April and May.
"We haven't had any large severe weather outbreaks this spring, which is a nice break from the last couple of years," Eisentrout said.
Greene County is well aware of the potential for strong spring-time storms, he said.
In April 2011, portions of the county were devastated by tornadoes. There was also a severe weather outbreak last spring, the meteorologist noted.
"In the summer, you start to get more afternoon pop-ups," Eisentrout said. "As far as moving-through systems, that is primarly in the spring months."