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Dialogue: Climate Change and Extreme Weather in Tennessee

Waverly 800.jpg
Associated Press
A trailer and car are among the debris swept up by flash flooding in August, 2021 in Waverly, Tennessee, that killed up to 20 people and washed away homes and rural roads.

Conversations about Tennessee's climate and weather are becoming more and more complicated. We’re seeing rapid climate changes in Tennessee, like everywhere else, and those changes are becoming more extreme, causing more damage, and some of them, like periods of extreme heat, are lasting longer. As a result, we’re recognizing that there are impacts on the physical and mental health of humans, on the well-being of entire communities and ecosystems, and on economic development. WUOT's Chrissy Keuper spoke with three Tennessee climatologists, one from each of the state’s Grand Divisions: University of Tennessee Associate Professor of Geography Kelsey Ellis; Middle Tennessee State University Assistant Professor of Geography Alisa Hass; and University of Memphis Associate Professor of Earth Sciences Dorian Burnette.

Drs. Ellis and Hass on the growing prevalence of December tornadoes in the southern US

WPLN on the need for a Tennessee mesonet

Chrissy's interview with Tennessee State Climatologist and ETSU Associate Professor of Geosciences Andrew Joyner about the Tennessee Climate Office:

Dr. Andrew Joyner

Chrissy's interview with University of Tennessee Assistant Professor of Public Health Kristina Kintziger about the effects of climate and weather on mental and physical health:

Dr. Kristina Kintziger

Chrissy is WUOT's News Director, as well as host of All Things Considered. Her first job with the station was as a weekend student announcer while earning her bachelor's in Anthropology from the University of Tennessee. From 2004 to 2015, she served as the station's local host for Morning Edition. In 2019, she returned to the station as the local host for All Things Considered.