published Tuesday, March 20th, 2012

Winter says a warm goodbye to the Chattanooga area

Elise Cropsey, 5, left, and her brother, Micah, 3, play in the warm weather on the beach at Chester Frost Park Wednesday.
Elise Cropsey, 5, left, and her brother, Micah, 3, play in the warm weather on the beach at Chester Frost Park Wednesday.
Photo by Tim Barber /Chattanooga Times Free Press.
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After breaking temperature records last Wednesday and Thursday, Chattanooga is predicted to top the 85-degree record high today, the first day of spring.

However, temperatures for the rest of the week are expected to drop slightly and hover in the 70s. They are unlikely to challenge the highs nearing 90 posted in March 1907.

"We are getting into summertime, so I would recommend wearing a hat and sunscreen, especially with these clear, sunny days," said Kate Guillet at the National Weather Service's Morristown, Tenn., office.

High temperatures and mostly clear skies bring the return of increased UV radiation, which prematurely has reached "very high" levels around the South, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. This assignment indicates that skin damage could start within 15 minutes of being outside, NOAA reports.

While our recent spate of warm weather has been unusual, the heat wave of 1907 caused considerably more hubbub. The Chattanooga Times of 105 years ago tracked the community's growing apprehension.

"[T]he sun got a good chance to get in its work on humanity unfortunate enough to still be in winter clothes," the Times wrote on March 21.

"It was so warm as to cause wholesale discarding of winter clothing," the paper noted of temperature reaching 89 degrees on March 22.

The Times wrote on March 23, "The thermometer went higher than has ever been known during March until this year of 1907."

The Weather Service recorded the temperature that day at 89 degrees.

However, as temperatures dropped, 1907 Chattanooga embraced the warmth, and the paper called the weather "a sure sign that winter has 'skiddooed.'"

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