published Friday, June 22nd, 2012

Chattanooga-area temperatures to hover in the 90s until next week

John Williams, employee with Proctor Contractors of Rossville, smoothes new concrete in the heat Thursday at Dixieland Fireworks on Ringgold Road at Interstate 75 exit 1. The new store is locally owned by Clyde Locke.
John Williams, employee with Proctor Contractors of Rossville, smoothes new concrete in the heat Thursday at Dixieland Fireworks on Ringgold Road at Interstate 75 exit 1. The new store is locally owned by Clyde Locke.
Photo by Tim Barber.
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The Scenic City's seven-day forecast is daunting -- sticky, sweltering hot.

An 88-degree high next Wednesday will be considered cool after a week with temperatures in the low- to mid-90s.

"We're only three-to-four degrees above normal. We're not talking too extreme," said Sam Roberts, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Morristown, Tenn. "I wouldn't be too concerned right now."

Steamy temperatures had a jump on summer's official first day Wednesday. Chattanooga reached 94 degrees on May 26, tying with 1962's record high.

Chattanoogans can expect to work up a sweat being outside -- or a pricier electric bill from running cooling systems being inside. But it could always be worse. Record highs for the rest of June all reached triple-digit temperatures. Luckily, those records will stay intact for at least the next week, according to Weather Storm Alert 3 Meteorologist Nick Austin.

A high pressure system has made cozy right over the Southeast Tennessee, causing this dry spell, Austin said.

"It's practically sitting on top of us," he said. "It's suppressing a lot of storm development, allowing things to heat up."

Scattered thunderstorms could provide some relief via a weak cold front moving into the area today.

"You could get lucky and be directly under one of those storm clouds and get some rain," Austin said. "It could temporarily cool down 10 to 15 degrees, but the front will not cool us off for the weekend."

To combat the 94 degrees that graced Chattanooga on Thursday, the pool at Warner Park was filled with parents and their water-logged youngsters as they happily played in the pool or under the spray fountains.

So far this year, Warner Park has seen maximum capacity -- 300 people -- about five times, office manager Louise Little said.

Clarence McCray, the pool's head lifeguard, said this is the first week there have been four or five straight days of good weather.

"The water feels good for them," she said.

It certainly felt good for Kristen Kirby and her 2-year-old daughter Nina, who munched on grapes and ice cubes while they stood in the spray area.

"I didn't think it was that bad until this week," Kirby said. "We'll probably continue to be in a pool or stay inside where it's air-conditioned."

Pools seem to be a bigger draw than drier outdoor activities such as sports.

"It's running some golfers out of here. It's too hot," said Eddie Taylor, golf course manager at Brainerd Golf Course on Old Mission Road. "People play in the morning, then there's a lull until the afternoon. That's the typical summertime pattern."

A fully irrigated watering system has helped keep the grass alive at Brainerd Golf Course, which quenches two to types of grass that make up the landscape -- warm weather-loving Bermuda grass and cool weather-preferring bentgrass.

"The bentgrass we use couldn't live without water, though," Taylor said. "Bermuda grass would come and go with the thunderstorms. It'd look great, then dry out."

As of now, a similar weather pattern is expected to continue into the hotter months of July and August, Roberts said, with a 40 percent chance of having above-normal temperatures as the summer season rolls through.

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