published Saturday, February 11th, 2012

Snow covers yards in the Chattanooga area

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    Snow covered many yards on Signal Mountain this morning.
    Photo by John Vass Jr.

A light layer of snow covered many yards in the Chattanooga area this morning as snow showers moved through the region, accompanied by drops in temperatures.

Signal Mountain yards were among those covered by a layer of snow.

The yellow bursts of daffodils and coral clouds of budding quince bushes may need mulch or burlap coats.

The early spring feel of January — one of the warmest ever recorded in Chattanooga — and early February is being shoved aside by an icy blast of winter.

A large high-pressure system from the west will bring colder weather, high winds and possible snow this weekend and lingering into next week. The cold could be jarring considering that 21 days in “Juneuary” were warmer than the norm — a dozen with departures of more than 10 degrees.

Temperatures today in the 30s, combined with the wind chill, might turn exposed faces and hands red and raw, said Shawn O’Neill from the National Weather Service in Morristown, Tenn.

Chief Meteorologist Paul Barys of WRCB-Channel 3 warned that winds today will be gusty, reaching 20 to 25 mph, dropping the apparent temperature to 5 to 15 degrees.

Cold temperatures are expected to last until Wednesday, he said, but he believes there will be only a trace amount of snow in the valley and no more than one-quarter of an inch on the mountains.

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    Pansies planted on UTC's campus begin to wilt on Friday afternoon. Low temperatures projected over the next few days may damage blooming flowers throughout the city.
    Photo by Doug Strickland.
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Craig Walker of The Barn Nursery in Chattanooga noted that most plant life will be able to withstand temperatures in the high teens for a few days, but multiple nights of weather below 15 degrees could claim some of the flowers that have resulted from unseasonably early spring weather.

He cautioned gardeners to cover fragile plants such as gardenias with burlap and other weather-resistant material in the event of prolonged cold. But avoid plastic, he said.

In preparation for a snowy week, the Tennessee Department of Transportation on Thursday began salting all state routes in 24 counties including Hamilton, said TDOT spokeswoman Jennifer Flynn. All TDOT trucks have been loaded with salt, and plows are standing by in the event of major precipitation, she said.

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