published Monday, April 14th, 2014

Forecasters warn of damaging hard freeze in Chattanooga area

Following a day or showers and thunderstorms through this afternoon, local and national weather forecasters are warning residents of a widespread hard freeze Tuesday night into Wednesday morning.

Highs are expected to be in the mid-70s today with some wind gusts, according to the National Weather Service in Morristown.

Tuesday will see clearing skies and cooler temperatures that are expected to drop into the 20s throughout the region; overnight widespread frost also is likely.

The National Weather Service in Morristown, Tenn., said the below-freezing temperatures could make some fruit trees and spring-time fruits and vegetables susceptible to freeze damage.

Craig Walker, perennial specialist at The Barn Nursery, said area green thumbs emboldened by the summer-like week weather who set out annuals might want to cover them with a frost cloth or blanket.

"Most of the perennials in the ground should be OK," Walker said this morning.

He said fruit trees that have already bloomed should be fine.

Barn Nursery staff likely will move the annual plants and tender perennials inside in an abundance of caution.

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