published Saturday, January 1st, 2011

Warm weather follows white Christmas


by Kelli Gauthier
  • photo
    Friday afternoon at Coolidge Park Adelia Soulje, front, and her sister Alicia Soulje read the Nooks they received as a Christmas present. The two wanted to come out to enjoy the warm temperature.
    Staff Photo by Allison Carter

Don't pack up your parka quite yet.

Chattanooga had snow on Christmas Day for the first time in more than a decade, and a week later, Scenic City residents and visitors enjoyed their day off playing outside in Coolidge Park, sans jackets.

The icy temperatures have thawed momentarily, and Chattanoogans will ring in the new year with temperatures in the 50s and 60s, before another cold front moves in, meteorologists say.

"This is kind of what happens. You have a low-pressure system and a cold front moving this way, and ahead of a cold front, you have warm air from the southwest," said Derek Eisentrout, a weather service representative with the National Weather Service in Morristown, Tenn. "[The cold front] isn't going to be as drastic as last time with the snow ... but before the snow, we had a nice warm day beforehand, too."

Meteorologist Nick Austin with WRCB Channel 3's Storm Alert Team, said the Chattanooga area will see about 3/4 inch to an inch of rain today with some "minor flash flooding" in some areas. After highs in the low 60s on Friday, temperatures today should be in the mid-50s, with wind gusts of 25 to 32 mph, he said.

"Clouds should increase overnight with scattered showers ahead of the big rain, which will start closer to sunrise," Austin said. "All of the rain should be gone by late [Saturday] afternoon or evening."

By Monday morning, temperatures should be back to average for this time of year, with lows in the mid- to upper 20s and highs in the 40s, Eisentrout said.

As of Thursday, December 2010 was still the fourth-coldest on record for Chattanooga, Austin said.

Winter weather-weary Chattanoogans enjoyed New Year's Eve out of doors on Friday, many in Coolidge Park.

Signal Mountain resident Jennifer Cisto said she and her four children were sledding on Christmas Day, but she preferred chasing a soccer ball around the park as she was doing Friday morning.

"Oh, I prefer the warmer weather," she said. "I like the snow, but in limited quantities."

Emily Willard, also from Signal Mountain, came to Coolidge on Friday with her husband, Jason, and their 13-month-old daughter, Drew. They, too, went sledding on the white Christmas last week.

"The warm weather is perfect, and we're taking advantage of it," she said. "It's nice to have had both [warm and cold weather] during our Christmas break."

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about Kelli Gauthier...

Kelli Gauthier covers K-12 education in Hamilton County for the Times Free Press. She started at the paper as an intern in 2006, crisscrossing the region writing feature stories from Pikeville, Tenn., to Lafayette, Ga. She also covered crime and courts before taking over the education beat in 2007. A native of Frederick, Md., Kelli came south to attend Southern Adventist University in Collegedale, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in print journalism. Before newspapers, ...

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