Freezing temperatures bring April snow flurries to Chattanooga area

Freezing temperatures bring April snow flurries to Chattanooga area

April 16th, 2018 by Rosana Hughes in Local Regional News

Dave and Wendy Rhead, of Beaverton, Ontario, walk their dogs Jezzie and Jasper across the Walnut Street Bridge early Monday. "We started back home too soon," Wendy Rhead said. "We left Brownsville, Texas too early. We've been in shorts all winter, " she said.

Photo by Tim Barber /Times Free Press.

This story was updated April 16, 2018, at 11 p.m. with more information.

It might be spring in the Tennessee Valley according to the calendar, but winter keeps trying to make an appearance.

As snow flurries were spotted on Signal and Lookout mountains on Monday morning, residents took to social media to post pictures of a thin layer of the white fluff on cars and grass.

At 11:15 Monday morning, Dave Miller, of San Diego, reaches for his coffee as ice pellets land on the top of his car outside the Bluff View Inn. "We were here for a wedding," Miller said. "This is cold. I left the 80s," he said.

At 11:15 Monday morning, Dave Miller, of San...

Photo by Tim Barber /Times Free Press.

Six-day forecast

Tuesday: Low 34/High 71, 10 percent chance of rain

Wednesday: Low 53/High 77, 10 percent chance of rain

Thursday: Low 42/High 64, 0 percent chance of rain

Friday: Low 42/High 67, 10 percent chance of rain

Saturday: Low 44/High 73, 10 percent chance of rain

Sunday: 52 Low/High 71, 80 percent rain

Source: WRCB-TV Channel 3

The National Weather Service reported temperatures being about 25 degrees below normal for this time of year. Monday's low ranked seventh coldest since the National Weather Service began tracking weather statistics in the late 1800s. The coldest temperature recorded for April 17 was 30 degrees in 1953.

This morning is expected to be just as cool if not cooler than Monday, with freeze warnings in effect overnight and into this morning for much of the area, forecasters said. But by afternoon temperatures should warm up into low 70s.

The latest time of year for temperatures to dip to freezing or below took place on April 25, 1974.

But on average, Cole Webster, general manager for The Barn Nursery, said he and his team expect a freeze as late as April 16. However, for the past four or so years there hasn't been a freeze later than April 1, he said.

On Monday, Webster said they were moving all of the plants indoors or into the nursery's greenhouse because of the overnight freeze warning. For the plants that couldn't be moved, he said, they were covering them with frost cloths.

"I suggest anybody doing that, even if it's just using a bed sheet or something like that, with any tender annuals or flowering shrubs," he said. "This cold weather and freeze can nip those things back."

He said since the cold won't last very long, it won't kill the entire plant, but it can kill a large portion of the plant.

"It can take [the plants] a long time to recover," he said.

WRCB-TV Channel 3 Chief Meteorologist Paul Barys said the rain and colder temperatures are remnants of a blizzard that passed through the Midwestern plains.

"We were just on the edge of it," Barys said. "That's why the winds were so strong; just close enough to get the cold air in."

National Weather Service meteorologist Derek Eisentrout said another quick-moving low pressure system is expected to bring more rain and a little bit of cold air on Wednesday night and Thursday, but it won't be too far from the seasonal normal, he said.

"Winter came back for a very brief visit, and it'll be departing [this] morning and heading back into spring," Eisentrout said. "... But it really should be a pretty nice week, all in all, by the time we're said and done."

He said climate predictions show better chances of temperatures being below normal.

"We may still trend toward the cool side," he said.

Monday morning's snow flurries aren't too unexpected, especially after a large low-pressure system moves through the area, Eisentrout said.

"When you have enough moisture left after a system goes by," he said. "... We had just enough cold air left to bring just a tiny bit of a wintry mix."

Contact staff writer Rosana Hughes at rhughes@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6327 with tips or story ideas. Follow her on Twitter @Hughes Rosana.