Climatologist: Increasing extreme weather could impact region

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) — Extreme weather is increasing and could create problems for our region.

Last year was a warm year across the globe. It was the hottest year on record globally and the second-hottest year in our region.

Tennessee state climatologist and East Tennessee State University associate professor Dr. Andrew Joyner said that we’re seeing an increase in extreme weather, from flash flooding to rapid-onset drought.

“That increase has been more rapid the past two to three decades,” Joyner said. “That increase in temperature could be a concern.”

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Joyner said the region is experiencing more flash droughts rather than long-term droughts. These are droughts that have a shorter duration and happen rapidly. Droughts and flooding are generally linked which could cause concern.

Joyner said it’s all about timing to determine what kind of impact this could have on our region.

“Early July is peak time for corn and if we have a drought during that period of time, it can have a really big impact,” Joyner said. “Whereas if a drought occurs about a month later, it’s less impact.”

Joyner said that the region is seeing much higher overnight lows. The higher temperatures could cause concern for those in higher elevations who do not use air conditioning or may not even have it.

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“Those are areas where they may need to use air conditioning more often going into the future,” Joyner said. “Especially if we have those warm and humid evenings where it’s difficult for us to cool down.”

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