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68

counties with USDA Drought Disaster Designations (primary)

~6,300

Tennessee residents in areas of drought, according to the Drought Monitor

50th

driest April on record (since 1895)

62nd

wettest January—April on record (since 1895)

Current Tennessee Drought Maps

Drought & Dryness Categories
% of TN
2.8
0.3
0.0
0.0
0.0
0.3
Drought Change Since Last Week
Dry Conditions
Wet Conditions
Dry Conditions
Wet Conditions

Experimental
Experimental

Drought in Tennessee

The Southeast region generally receives substantial precipitation and is often considered water-rich. However, droughts are not uncommon, and the Southeast has a long history of multi-year droughts, including the recently experienced record-breaking droughts of 2006–2008 and 2010–2012. Tennessee also experienced a high impact drought in 2016 that was a primary factor in several major wildfires, including the Gatlinburg wildfires that resulted in loss of life and widespread infrastructure damage. These droughts had far-reaching impacts on agriculture, water availability for municipalities and industry, and wildfires.

Drought conditions can also develop rapidly in the Southeast, especially when the lack of rain and high temperatures combine to quickly increase the loss of water from the landscape via evapotranspiration. There is increased regional awareness of how these rapid-onset droughts, sometimes referred to as ‘flash droughts’, can cause significant agricultural economic impacts. A recent example of flash drought in Tennessee occurred in the late summer and early fall of 2019. Drought is expected to increase in the Southeast due to a combination of higher temperatures, as well as increased population, industry and urban land use region, which will further affect water resource recharge and amplify competing water demands in the region.

NOAA’s National Integrated Drought Information System (NIDIS) launched the Southeast Drought Early Warning System (DEWS) in 2020, which includes Alabama, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia. The Southeast DEWS is a network of regional and national partners that share information and coordinate actions to help communities in the region cope with drought.

Reach out to Meredith Muth, the Regional Drought Coordinator for this region, for more information, or sign up for the Southeast DEWS newsletter.

Tennessee State Drought Resources

Tennessee Current Conditions

A number of physical indicators are important for monitoring drought, such as precipitation & temperature, water supply (e.g., streamflow, reservoirs), and soil moisture. Learn more about monitoring drought.

Tennessee Precipitation Conditions

Inches of Precipitation
Percent of Normal Precipitation (%)
100%
Percent of Normal Precipitation (%)
100%

Tennessee Temperature Conditions

Maximum Temperature (°F)
60
Departure from Normal Max Temperature (°F)
0
Departure from Normal Max Temperature (°F)
0

Tennessee Streamflow Conditions

Streamflow Conditions
Streamflow Conditions
Streamflow Conditions

Tennessee Soil Moisture Conditions

20 cm Soil Moisture Percentile
70
100
0–100 cm Soil Moisture Percentile
70
100

Outlooks & Forecasts for Tennessee

Predicting drought in Tennessee depends on the ability to forecast precipitation and temperature within the context of complex climate interactions. View more outlooks & forecasts.

Future Precipitation & Temperature Conditions

Predicted Inches of Precipitation
1.75
Probability of Below-Normal Precipitation
100%
Probability of Above-Normal Precipitation
100%
Probability of Below-Normal Temperatures
100%
Probability of Above-Normal Temperatures
100%

Drought Outlooks for Tennessee

Drought Is Predicted To...
Drought Is Predicted To...

Historical Drought Conditions in Tennessee

Drought is a normal climate pattern that has occurred in varying degrees of length, severity, and size throughout history. Below, you can look back at past drought conditions for Tennessee according to 3 historical drought indices. The U.S. Drought Monitor is a weekly map that shows the location and intensity of drought across the country since 2000. The Standardized Precipitation Index (SPI) is a monthly depiction of drought based on precipitation (with data going back to 1895). And the paleoclimate data uses tree-ring reconstructions to estimate drought conditions before we had widespread instrumental records, going back to the year 0 for some parts of the U.S. View more historical conditions.

U.S. Drought Monitor

The U.S. Drought Monitor (2000–present) depicts the location and intensity of drought across the country. Every Thursday, authors from NOAA, USDA, and the National Drought Mitigation Center produce a new map based on their assessments of the best available data and input from local observers. The map uses five categories: Abnormally Dry (D0), showing areas that may be going into or are coming out of drought, and four levels of drought (D1–D4). Learn more.

Drought Resources for Tennessee

Stay Informed: Local Drought Updates

Drought Alert Emails
Get email updates when U.S. Drought Monitor conditions change for your location or a new drought outlook is released.

Southeast DEWS Drought Email List
Get regional drought status updates right to your inbox, as well as drought news, webinars, and other events for the Southeast.

Southeast Climate Monthly Webinars
This webinar series provides the Southeast region with timely information on current and developing climate conditions, such as drought, floods, and tropical storms, as well as climatic events like El Niño and La Niña. 

Get Involved: Submit Local Drought Impacts

Drought in your area? Tell us how drought is impacting your community by submitting a condition monitoring report. Your submissions help us better understand how drought is affecting local conditions.