Warmer weather ushers in spring for Chattanooga

photo Jessica Suddeth, right, explains how the turbines in Chickamauga Dam work to her son Corbin on Friday before going for a run.

Winter ExtremesHigh72 degrees, Dec. 3, 9; Feb. 12Low21 degrees, Feb. 17Average tempsDecember48.1January45.4February44.1Most rainfallJan. 302.17 inchesJan. 13-155.38 inches

While the first official day of spring is Wednesday, Chattanooga residents would agree that warmer weather visited the area much sooner than the calendar predicted.

Average temperatures this winter were 5 to 6 degrees above historic averages, and the area received 4 more inches of rain than usual.

But the averages don't tell the whole story.

Paul Barys, chief meteorologist for WRCB-Channel 3, said this winter was "more of a roller coaster ride."

There was a 51-degree difference in temperature extremes, from 21 degrees in February to 72 degrees on three days in December and January.

"This