A Foot Under In The Dry Months

By: Jim Freeman
By: Jim Freeman

Blount County (WVLT) -- We're still about a foot behind where we should be and now we are entering the driest part of the year.

Thursday's hit and miss showers were bound to help some.

Especially East Tennessee farmers like Blount County dairy farmer Mac Pate.

Pate is in his 59th year as a dairy farmer in the Fairview community.

"It really doesn’t matter, but we'd like to have several inches of rain, we're so far behind," Pate said with a laugh.

According to Meteorologist Scott Blalock, we need longer, steadier rains than what we ended up with on Thursday.

"This type of rain doesn't do much to end a drought," he said. "It keeps us from getting worse, but it doesn't help us get better."

Take a look at what used to be one of Mac's ponds.

"It dried up," the farmer said. "So, we're re-working, we're going to try to seal it up again and hope water will come back and fill it up."

Looks during a drought can be a bit deceiving.

Take Pate's dried up pond for instance.

To the average eye, it looks pretty much OK, but it's a spring-fed pond, and it's down about half from 600 gallons a minute to 300 gallons.

Mac's supply of hay is also down and the soybeans aren't looking so good either, even if they did catch some of Thursday's raindrops.

"We've got a lot of soybeans out there it might help at this point," Pate said. "It's almost too late."

But Pate is relieved to get some help from Mother Nature in the early fall.

"It's good to see rain, even in September going into October," he said. "October is our driest month of the whole 12 months, so the fact that we're getting rain at all is good news."

Officials say that Maryville and Alcoa water customers are still asked to voluntarily conserve water.


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