published Tuesday, November 12th, 2013

Lows in 20s, possible snow on the way for Chattanooga area

Poll
Are you excited about snow?

Legendary poet Percy Bysshe Shelley is credited with asking "if winter comes, can spring be far behind?"

Shelley would need to make such an encouraging statement in a peacoat if he were alive in Gig City today, because the Chattanooga area could see its first snow flurries of the season as soon as this evening.

The southeast portion of the state will be hit with cold weather starting today, according to the National Weather Service in Morristown, Tenn.

"There's a really strong Canadian cold front, you could call it, that's bringing in chillier air from the Great Lakes," said Andrew Pritchett, an NWS meteorologist in Morristown. "It's the first really strong front of the cool season."

Today's high will stay in the low 40s, and lows could dip into the 20s as night falls. The night's forecast is also projected as "breezy," which may cause any remaining leaves -- which Shelly describes as "yellow, black and pale, and hectic red" -- to finally submit to late fall conditions and wind speeds of up to 20 mph.

That forecast area includes Dayton, Decatur, Athens, Madisonville, Chattanooga, Cleveland and Benton.

Worse yet, a 30 percent chance of precipitation means the region could see a slight bout of freezing rain or mild snow.

"If wouldn't be a bit surprised if we get some showers," said Alex Gibbs, an NWS meteorologist in Peachtree City, Ga. "Someone may see a flake here or there in the mountains of Tennessee, but it all depends on the moisture, which has been dropping."

Chattanooga lows will stay in the mid-20s -- and highs in the upper 40s -- through Thursday, when the area could see a patch of warmth again. Thursday's high is forecast in the upper 50s, and Friday will see a high in the lower 60s, according to the NWS.

And perhaps this weekend will truly be a "trumpet of a prophecy," as Shelly wrote: Sunday's highs are expected to return to the low 70s.

"O hear!," indeed.

Contact staff writer Jeff LaFave at 423-757-6592 or jlafave@timesfreepress.com.

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