published Monday, March 12th, 2012

Warm trend sweeps through Chattanooga area

Wes Johnson, 19, left, gives Marie Meranda, 18, a push in her kayak on the Tennessee River Saturday morning in Chattanooga. Johnson and Meranda, both University of Tennessee at Chattanooga students, put their kayaks in at Coolidge Park and planned to stay out for two hours.
Wes Johnson, 19, left, gives Marie Meranda, 18, a push in her kayak on the Tennessee River Saturday morning in Chattanooga. Johnson and Meranda, both University of Tennessee at Chattanooga students, put their kayaks in at Coolidge Park and planned to stay out for two hours.
Photo by Ashlee Culverhouse.
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Clocks weren't the only things to spring forward over the weekend, as temperatures around the region began a rise that is expected to keep the area warm for several days.

Afternoon temperatures are expected to reach the mid-70s from Tuesday through Friday, according to WRCB meteorologists.

"Temperatures are going to be warm, even at night, in the next week," said meteorologist Nick Austin.

However, the higher temperatures come at a price.

"On most days, there will be more clouds than sun," Austin said, though he noted that rain would likely be light and scattered.

He went on to say that the air will be a bit muggier as well, caused by dew point rising with the ambient temperature.

Locals responded to the pleasant weekend weather. Carloads of families packed the lot at Coolidge Park on Sunday, where warm-weather revelers picnicked, fished and played sports. Others crowded the porches of nearby restaurants.

Chattanooga Parks and Recreation employee Keya Crayton said the department is gearing up for the combination of nice weather and spring break and noted that the park has seen an increase in visitors. In the next two weeks, Coolidge is expected to host several parties, events and other outdoor gatherings, Crayton added.

The heat and the humidity are the result of a low-pressure system from Texas and winds coming up from the Gulf of Mexico. Kate Guillet of the National Weather Service's Morristown office said the change will push out the incumbent high-pressure zone that's been causing clear skies and dry air.

While this week's weather is a welcome respite from recent storms, Austin and Guillet warned that the pleasantness might not last.

"It's possible we'll see another cold snap," Guillet said. Worse, she added, "Our peak severe weather month is April."

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