Chuck Denney-Narrator (UT Institute of Agriculture)
Tennessee is notorious for its wild weather patterns.
This time of year, it could be snowy and cold. Unless of course, it’s sunny and warm.
Lanny Davis (UT AgResearch)
“You have to read this one for the present temperature.”
Keeping tabs on all the craziness - Lanny Davis, the unofficial weather czar of west Tennessee. Lanny appears on local radio with his forecasts, and has worked at UT’s Research and Education Center in Jackson for more than 40 years.
“We’re going to read it, and record it.”
Part of his duties here include collecting weather data.
“Mother nature doesn’t care about your schedule. She’s going to do what she’s going to do, so it’s a challenge to see if you can be right or not.”
On a frigid day when it seems like spring will never get here, Lanny measures temperature, moisture amounts and air movement.
If you think it’s been a tough winter, Lanny says he’s with you.
“We’ve had several winters here we’ve not had very much snow or whatever. This year we’ve had more snow than I guess in the last ten years.'
Our state has four climate divisions - the eastern mountains, the plateau, the rolling hills of middle Tennessee, and the western area from the Tennessee River to the Mississippi. It’s five hundred miles from one end of the state to the other, and weather patterns can be really different from region to region. With such guaranteed uncertainty regarding the weather, collecting this data is critical. But this goes way beyond just the high and low for the day.
Randi Dunagan (UT AgResearch)
“We collect at different temperatures underground, under sod and under bare ground. We collect the evaporation for each day.”
UT AgResearch Associate Randi Dunagan sends today’s findings online to the National Weather Service. Randi says one of the primary reasons for watching the weather is to help agriculture. Noting climate trends gives producers vital information about the number of optimal growing days to expect.
“Everything we do here is important for the future of farming, and to help the farmers be able to do their job better and more efficiently and more environment friendly.”
It’s been said weather is the one thing that affects all of us. We can’t control it, but we can at least study it. And we may feel better about the weather just by knowing more about it.
NOTE: UT AgResearch also collects weather data at stations in Crossville and Greeneville.