published Tuesday, November 29th, 2011

Snow falls on mountaintops in Chattanooga area

A motorist travels along Edwards Point Road as snow falls atop Signal Mountain early this morning.
A motorist travels along Edwards Point Road as snow falls atop Signal Mountain early this morning.
Photo by Dan Henry.
  • photo
    Snow blankets yards and grassy areas on Signal Mountain although roadways remain clear. (Staff Photo by John Vass/Times Free Press)

Send your snow pictures from around the Chattanooga area to webeditor@timesfreepress.com

Delayed school starts:

TENNESSEE

  • Bledsoe: 2 hours
  • Bradley: No delay
  • Cleveland: No delay
  • Grundy: TBD
  • Hamilton: 2 hours
  • Marion: 90 minutes
  • McMinn: TBD
  • Meigs: No delay
  • Polk: 2 hours
  • Rhea: 2 hours
  • Sequatchie: 2 hours

GEORGIA

  • Catoosa: 2 hours
  • Dade: No delay
  • Walker: 2 hours
  • Whitfield: No delay

Source: School system officials

First snows in Chattanooga:
  • Nov. 8, 1991 -- Chattanooga receives a trace of snow, and Knoxville measures 0.2 inch
  • Nov. 16, 1989 -- Chattanooga measures 0.3 inch of snow
  • Nov. 24, 1950 -- Chattanooga is blanketed with 2.8 inches of snow

Elsewhere in Tennessee:

  • Oct. 20, 1989 -- Knoxville has a trace of snow
  • Oct. 30, 1925 -- Nashville is blanketed with an inch, the city's earliest measurable snowfall.
  • Nov. 7, 1996 -- Knoxville receives an inch of snow after two days of thunder and rain.
  • Nov. 21-22, 1952 -- Tri-Cities is hit with 16.2 inches of snow and Knoxville receives 18.2 inches, the most ever falling in a 24-hour period.

Source: National Weather Service

Snow fell this morning on mountaintops in the Chattanooga area.

Atop Signal Mountain, snow was accumulating on grassy areas but not on highways.

Forecasts on Monday had pointed to a late evening or early Tuesday morning snowfall -- a rare weather event in November in the Chattanooga area.

But Paul Barys, meteorologist for WRCB-TV Channel 3, on Monday had noted that people shouldn't worry.

"It will be cold enough upstairs, but not down here," he said, so Chattanooga might get a melty dusting, and the mountains could get less than a inch.

"It's not going to be a traveling problem, unless you're going to Memphis," Barys said. "I think the heaviest snow will be between [northeast] Mississippi; Jackson, Tenn., and Muscle Shoals, Ala. They could get three inches."

North Georgians also will see some flakes, most likely after 6 p.m.

"It will mostly melt as it falls, but we could see some on the ground," said National Weather Service meteorologist Mike Leary in Peachtree City, Ga.

But as the precipitation retreats, the temperatures will dive into the mid-20s on Thursday, Leary said.

The no-travel-problem part of Barys' forecast should be good news for local law enforcement officials, who've been dealing with flooding roads and rain-induced accidents over the past two days.

Hamilton County law enforcement worked more than 110 fender-benders Monday.

Since Saturday, the Tennessee Highway Patrol has worked 80 accidents, spokeswoman Dalya Qualls said Monday afternoon. Thirteen of those accidents involved injuries, she said.

Georgia State Patrol reported 36 crashes on state highways in Northwest Georgia since Sunday.

More than 3 inches of rain fell in 30 hours in the Tennessee Valley on Sunday and Monday, swelling area creeks and prompting road closures and early school dismissals throughout the region. More than 20 roads were closed in Hamilton County on Monday, officials said.

Though chronically flooded spots such as Camp Jordan in East Ridge became waterlogged, the swollen creeks did not cause any major damage in Hamilton County, said Bill Tittle, chief of emergency management for the county.

"We hope that, as the rain slackens, the creeks will finally lower [today]," Tittle said.

November snows in the South are rare, but not unknown.

The National Weather Service records show at least five November snows and two October snows in East and Middle Tennessee since 1925.

One leveled more than a foot of frozen crystals in Tri-Cities and Knoxville on Nov. 21-22, 1952.

Snow possible as rain soaks Chattanooga
More than three inches of rain fell within the last 30 hours and more rain is expected Tuesday. The rain, combined with temperatures in the low 30s may cause snow in western Tennessee and a rain/snow mix for the Tennessee Valley.
about Pam Sohn...

Pam Sohn has been reporting or editing Chattanooga news for 25 years. A Walden’s Ridge native, she began her journalism career with a 10-year stint at the Anniston (Ala.) Star. She came to the Chattanooga Times Free Press in 1999 after working at the Chattanooga Times for 14 years. She has been a city editor, Sunday editor, wire editor, projects team leader and assistant lifestyle editor. As a reporter, she also has covered the police, ...

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