Chilly weather in Chattanooga today, warmer by weekend

Chilly weather in Chattanooga today, warmer by weekend

April 5th, 2011 by Adam Crisp in News

Lt. Jamie Ratchford stands by as a wire burns on Ely Road after a tree fell on a nearby home. Staff Photo by Angela Lewis/Chattanooga Times Free Press

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Rough storms in the tri-state area overnight kicked up high winds and more than an inch of rain along with hail, lightning and the potential for tornadoes.

The storm, which lasted most of the evening, is the same system that knocked out power to 50,000 customers in Memphis and sent showers of lightning bolts across West Tennessee.

In Chattanooga, there were scattered reports of power outages and downed trees and limbs, including a house in Red Bank that was smashed by a fallen tree. Emergency crews mainly responded to areas north and west of the Tennessee River, according to Hamilton County 911.

Trees also were downed in Marion, McMinn and Bradley counties, with nickel-sized hail reported in Bradley.

Winds ripped across the region at 60 mph, according to officials at the National Weather Service. Sightings of funnel clouds were reported in Southeast Tennessee, but none touched down, meteorologists said.

About 2,600 homes and businesses lost power Monday night throughout EPB's customer service area, with most of the outages reported in North and East Chattanooga, according to EPB spokeswoman Lacie Newton.

"It should all be over with by the time folks get their newspaper [in the morning]," said Paul Barys, WRCB-Channel 3 meteorologist, speaking Monday. "But it will be nasty weather throughout the evening."

Winds gusting to about 50 mph blew down trees and power lines in Madison and Limestone counties in Alabama. No injuries or major damage were reported.

More than two dozen Alabama school systems dismissed students early as a precaution and, at one point, 22 counties were under a tornado watch.

The front that brought the storm also is bringing colder weather. There is a chance for frost tonight and temperatures today will hover in the 60s, Barys said.

The Weather Service predicts chilly temperatures today, but that sort of weather will be short-lived. There's a big warm-up expected for the weekend.

"It's going to be much cooler, but we expect it to start warming up right away," according to Lyle Wilson, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Morristown, Tenn. "By the weekend, the weather will be warm again."

The weekend's highs will be between the high 70s to low 80s, according to the Weather Service.

One plus from the storms - all the wind and heavy rain will wash away much of the heavy pollen that has caused allergy sufferers much grief in recent weeks.

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The Associated Press contributed to this story.