Mixed weather bag

Mixed weather bag

Cold, chance of flurries follows a sloppy Sunday

January 24th, 2010 by Chris Carroll in News

Wrapping up a month that brought a school-canceling snow, balmy temperatures and everything in between, Sunday offered heavy rainfall as the latest installment of unusual January weather in the Tennessee Valley.

Starting today, high temperatures should take a dip into the mid-40s with an outside chance of snow flurries through Tuesday, according to WTVC NewsChannel 9 chief meteorologist David Glenn.

But Friday's predicted low of 24 could bring some interesting precipitation with it.

"The only system that could be a little tricky could be Thursday night and Friday," Mr. Glenn said. "We could have some rain Thursday night, maybe Friday ending as a wintry mix as cold air comes in. That's really the only hurdle we have for the month."

Wednesday and Thursday should heat up into the 50s before a cool rain system moves in for the weekend, Mr. Glenn said.

National Weather Service meteorologist Lyle Wilson said it is still too early to tell about Friday's forecast.

"There's at least some potential that there could be some snow with that at some point, but it's too far out to say with any confidence whether it's going to be all rain or start as rain and end as snow," Mr. Wilson said.

Staff photo by Jake Daniels/Chattanooga Times Free Press A motorist passes by an overflowing manhole on 23rd Street on Sunday after heavy rains. Storms brought in heavy rains and light flooding on Sunday.

Staff photo by Jake Daniels/Chattanooga Times Free Press...

Most areas in Southeast Tennessee and Northwest Georgia finished a saturated weekend with a little over 2 inches of rain, according to Mr. Wilson. That brings an unusual month's rainfall total to about 4 inches.

"It's actually just a hair below normal," Mr. Glenn said. "Through that whole cold snap that we had, we didn't have much rain. So the heavy rain we've gotten today and back on Thursday really helped us get out of a hole."

Some meteorologists call the last two months an "El Nino winter," which started with warmer ocean temperatures off the western coast of South America. That warmer water served as the vehicle for the heavy rain from this weekend.

National Weather Service meteorologist Lyle Wilson said Sunday's weather got plenty of moisture from the Gulf of Mexico.

"Sometimes the way the jet stream's set up, it will keep systems steered away from us, at least anything significant," she said. "But the way things have been setting up lately, that's not been the case."

Water wasn't the only disruptive element Sunday. Peak winds in Chattanooga reached 40 mph with gusts mostly between 25 and 35 mph. The gusts pushed trees over some power lines in the city. According to EPB spokeswoman Lacie Newton, as many as 1,000 households were without power at the height of the storm.

The Chattanooga Police Department announced numerous road closings Sunday, including the W Road and Roberts Mill Road, two thoroughfares prone to weather problems. Catoosa, Dade, Walker and Whitfield counties in Georgia reported several roads under water. One Hamilton County Sheriff's Office dispatcher said Sunday's accident level was "normal" for a rainy afternoon.

Despite the soggy winter feel, Mr. Glenn sees a silver lining in the weekend's weather.

"We're at least starting the year with decent rainfall and not going deeper into winter with more of a deficit of rainfall, which is what we've had for so many years," Mr. Glenn said.