Don't like the weather? Give it an hour

Don't like the weather? Give it an hour

March 31st, 2013 by Pam Sohn in Fyi Chattanooga

A sort-of snow day - school was delayed, not canceled - gave Keegan Speek, right, and Walker Hubbard time to try to build a snowman. The friends attend Nolan Elementary on Signal Mountain.

Photo by Dan Henry /Times Free Press.


* All-time highest temperature: 107 F (June 30 and July 1, 2012)

* All-time lowest temperature: -10 F (Jan. 21, 1985)

* Most rain in one hour: 2.70 inches (July 27, 1976)

* Most rain in 24 hours: 9.50 inches (Sept. 5-6, 2011)

* Most rain in one month: 16.32 inches (March 1980)

* Most rain in one year: 73.70 inches (1994)

* Most snow in 24 hours: 20 inches (March 12-13, 1993)

* Most snow in one season: 23.9 inches (1894-95)

Source: National Weather Service

This rose of a town and county, set in a valley along a river lined by mountains, is not without a thorn or two.

But here, we like to take challenges and make them opportunities.

So when a late January week gives us an icy patio one day, balmy spring sunshine the next to usher in oddly warm rains and some thunderclaps in the evening before we wake another day to a dusting of snow, we understand it's just part of the reasons we can claim title to one of the most lush and biodiverse regions in the nontropical world.

We have a saying here: If you don't like Chattanooga's weather, just wait an hour or two. It will change.

And that, along with the extremes such weather variety can bring, may be the most certain constant in our weather.

This January was the third wettest on record in the Tennessee Valley, and Chattanooga received 9.7 inches of rain - nearly twice the January norm of 4.9 inches.

June 30 and July 1, 2012, marked our two all-time hottest days - both saw the mercury reach 107 degrees.

April 27, 2011, brought Hamilton County nine deadly tornadoes in one day - another record and all part of a monster four-day weather system that swarmed hundreds of twisters across the Southeast.

Sept. 5-6, 2011, gave us the most rain ever recorded here in 24 hours: 9.5 inches.

But there are plenty of ordinary days. Here are some Chattanooga norms from the National Weather Service:

* We get 52.48 inches of rain a year. (Yes, that's significantly more than Seattle's normal 38 inches a year.)

* We have 119.6 days with at least a trace of rainfall and 27.3 days with dense fog.

* On 54.8 of those days, we have thunderstorms, too.

* We average only 3.9 inches of snow yearly.

* We have 58.3 days a year when temperatures are at or below freezing.

* Then comes summer, and we have 47.7 days with temperatures at or above 90.

* The average first frost is Oct. 20, and the average first freeze is Nov. 4.

* The average last freeze is April 1, and the average last frost is April 14.

So back to those roses: They bloom their hearts out for us.

Contact staff writer Pam Sohn at or 423-757-6346.

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