Though Chattanooga missed a new high Wednesday, temperatures could reach record-setting levels today. The all-time high of 93 degrees for May 12 was recorded in 1962, and today’s forecast calls for a high of 90.
Source: National Weather Service
With sweat pouring off most anyone spending time outside Wednesday, it would have been easy to believe it was the hottest May 11 Chattanooga ever had seen.
But that wouldn’t quite be true.
The temperature reached 91 degrees Wednesday — a full 13 degrees above May 11 averages — tying the day’s record high, said Paul Barys, chief meteorologist with WRCB-TV Channel 3. The thermometer originally climbed to that record-setting level back in 1963.
A dome of high pressure has been hanging above the South all week, according to National Weather Service meteorologist David Hotz, and that dome has caused more than just extreme temperatures.
The haze brought on by the heat caused air quality to become a moderate health concern both Wednesday and today, meaning those with respiratory problems should take it easy.
There were no heat-related hospital admissions by early evening, and Erlanger emergency physician Patrick McDougal doesn’t expect that to change until we’re further into the summer.
Still, McDougal recommends that people with asthma, emphysema and other respiratory problems stay indoors with air conditioning and have their emergency medications ready.
The heat — and any problems going along with it — should break Friday. A cold front is expected to bring rain to the area, with a high around 82.
Nevertheless, some local businesses are happy for the week’s heat.
Abbie Holt, a University of Tennessee at Knoxville student who has worked at Clumpies Ice Cream for two summers, said hot days like Wednesday typically bring in more customers.
“We have had a steady flow of people coming in,” she said during the lull before the store’s typical early evening rush.
Terry Fine, on vacation Wednesday in Chattanooga from Southern California, wished the humidity had broken sooner.
As she stood in line waiting to place her ice cream order, she said Tennesseans must be better adapted than their West Coast counterparts.
“We’re not used to it in California,” she said.