Above-average rainfall in 2017 helps East Tennessee recover from last year's drought

2017 has had slightly above-average temperatures and more importantly, above-average rainfall. That rainfall was exactly what we needed to recover from last year's drought.

Despite receiving near-average snowfall and hitting a low of 7 degrees in January, the year actually got off to a warm start.

We had a few cold spells along the way but January 2017 ended up being the 9th warmest on record with an average temperature that was 9 degrees above average.

And the warmth continued into February...

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We tied or broke 3 record highs during the month and even hit 79 degrees on Feb. 24.

The above-average temperatures gave us the 5th warmest February on record and also one of the driest.

Below-average rainfall meant that drought conditions from 2016 continued through the first few months of 2017.

That all changed when the rain came in the spring.

We had above-average rainfall in all 3 months but April really stands out in the crowd.

Not only was it the warmest April on record, it was also the 9th wettest.

Knoxville set 2 daily rainfall records and totaled over seven and a half inches for the month.

The results of all that rain? Widespread flooding and the spilling of Norris Dam for only the 12th year since it was built in the 1930s.

Watch: TVA spills Norris Dam for first time in 4 years

The rain also ended drought conditions that had developed across East Tennessee in 2016.

The warm and stormy pattern continued into May… and culminated with a fast-moving line of severe storms with damaging wind, called a Derecho, during Memorial Day Weekend.

Wind up to 80 mph caused widespread tree damage and left tens of thousands of people in the dark.

It took utility crews days to clear debris from roads and restore power to the area.

MORE: Derecho caused widespread storm damage in East Tennessee

Thankfully summer was a little less eventful.

We had our typical summer thunderstorms but overall, the season was pretty mellow.

Temperatures were near or below average in June, July and August… making conditions bearable to view the sunflowers that bloomed in South Knoxville.

And although July ended with a rainfall deficit for the month, we made up for it in August.

We set 2 daily rainfall records. August 2017 will go down as the 17th wettest on record.

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Thankfully, the skies cleared just in time for the total solar eclipse on the Aug. 21… and East Tennesseans were treated to a perfect view of the celestial event.

Fall of 2017 got off to a record-cool start in September, stimulating the leaves to begin changing a little earlier than normal.

But that didn't last long. Mother Nature hit the brakes on the fall foliage with a warm-spell that lasted into mid-October.

Tropical moisture more than doubled our average rainfall in what is typically one of the driest months of the year, giving us the 10th wettest October on record.

After one last wave of warm weather in early November, cool temperatures settled in and fall color exploded across the region.

This year's foliage was described by some as the best they had seen in more than a decade, although it didn't last very long.

Overall, 2017 has been a little bit above average with temperature, and more importantly, above average with rainfall.

This year has been exactly what we needed in our path to recovery from 2016.