published Monday, April 25th, 2011

Near-record heat on Easter Sunday

  • photo
    Helen Qin holds her basket after a community Easter egg hunt sponsored by Stuart Heights Baptist Church at Coolidge Park Sunday morning. Staff photo by John Rawlston/Chattanooga Times Free Press

This Easter was not a good day to be stuck inside a bunny suit, as Chattanooga temperatures climbed to 84 degrees Sunday.

“It’s not the hottest Easter we’ve ever had, but it ranks close to the top,” said WRCB-TV meteorologist Nick Austin.

The warmest Easter recorded in Chattanooga was in 1946, when the temperature reached 86 degrees. This year’s Easter high ties with four other years: 2006, 1999, 1981 and 1962, Austin said.

Though the holiday came late this year, the temperatures are still unseasonably high, according to Austin.

“Even for late April we’re about 10 degrees above normal,” he said. The normal high for Chattanooga at this time of the month is about 74 degrees.

Hottest Easters

1946: 86 degrees

1985: 85 degrees

1962, 1981, 1999, 2006 and 2011: 84 degrees

Source: WRCB-TV 3

In North Georgia, late April days reaching into the 80s is “warm but not unheard of, especially as we get closer to May,” said Alex Gibbs, meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Peachtree City, Ga.

The summery conditions can be attributed to a stationary air mass heating up above the Tennessee Valley, as jet streams have remained just north of the area, Austin explained. Gibbs said high pressure pumping heat and moisture into the area only adds to the stuffiness.

The area will cool down later this week as storms gust into Southeast Tennessee and North Georgia. Scattered showers will hit the area Tuesday, and severe storms are expected Wednesday afternoon and evening, Austin said.

Chattanooga most likely will get around 3 inches of rain, while the Cumberland Plateau area could see as much as 4 inches. Austin also warned there could be some wind damage in the area Wednesday, though no tornadoes are expected.

As storms clear out Thursday, temperatures will sink back to their normal levels — 60 degrees Thursday and about 70 degrees Friday, said Austin.

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