ETSU outlook: Expect a particularly toasty summer

Published 9:04 am Tuesday, June 4, 2024

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The latest weather outlook is a sweltering one: Almost all of the Appalachian Highlands should expect warmer-than-normal conditions this summer.    

“While we aren’t projected to be as far above average as the Southwest and Northeast, June, July and August could be quite toasty in Tennessee and Southern Appalachia,” said Dr. Andrew Joyner, Tennessee’s official climatologist and a member of the Department of Geosciences at East Tennessee State University.  

More rain is likely, too, especially in East Tennessee.   

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More extreme weather 

Potentially blistering temperatures this summer follow a hot 2023 – Earth’s warmest year on record and a time when highs across the region and state were rivaled and, sometimes, shattered.   

Earlier this year, experts at ETSU outlined three troubling takeaways for a warming Appalachia. That includes a spike in heat-related illness.   

“A lot of our construction and farm workers and others who work outside during the summer may be at increased risk for heat-related health issues going forward,” Joyner said.  

Per the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, 2024 is already likely to be among the 10 warmest years ever recorded.  

Eye on the seas  

Don’t worry – there aren’t any hurricanes forecast for Tennessee.   

But Joyner, who plays a key role in managing statewide weather-related issues alongside Assistant State Climatologist and Geosciences lecturer William Tollefson, is monitoring tropical weather.  

“There is a possibility of increased tropical systems coming through our area from the Gulf Coast,” he said. “That means the potential for an increase in rain and storms.”   

Because the university houses the state’s climate office, ETSU plays an outsized role in climate research.