published Monday, July 2nd, 2012

Chattanoogans find ways to keep cool in a hot streak

Avianna Donahue, age 5, swims with her uncle Eric Lockett at the Chickamauga Dam swimming area Sunday as Chattanoogans dealt with another day of temperatures well above 100 degrees.
Avianna Donahue, age 5, swims with her uncle Eric Lockett at the Chickamauga Dam swimming area Sunday as Chattanoogans dealt with another day of temperatures well above 100 degrees.
Photo by John Rawlston.

Sunday's highs and lows

Atlanta: 105/80

Chattanooga: 107/76

Huntsville: 102/77

Source: National Weather Service

While most locals took refuge from Sunday's record-tying 107 degrees in air-conditioned homes, malls and movie theaters or cooling lakes, Lisa Reason cranked up a push mower at her East Ridge home.

At 3 p.m. she wore a wet towel around her neck, a sun hat, rubber boots and a T-shirt she bought at work earlier in the day when her Lake Winnepesaukah uniform shirt became too hot to wear.

"I hardly ever had air conditioning until my kids moved out," Reason said. "I have these huge, beautiful trees, and there's always a breeze coming off the ridge."

Despite her determination, Reason could only mow about 10 minutes before needing a water break. "I'm an idiot," she said.

Sunday's heat tied Saturday's all-time high for Chattanooga, National Weather Service meteorologist Sam Roberts said Sunday from the weather service office in Morristown, Tenn. It was the fourth consecutive day with temperatures above 100 degrees.

But it will take five more such periods to set a new record for a streak of 100-plus-degree days.

"Chattanooga's record is nine consecutive days, which was back in 1952," Roberts said.

Though the weather service predicts temperatures will climb as high as 102 today, the high Tuesday is projected to be only 97 degrees. On July 4, the predicted high will be 95 degrees.

Dalton, Ga., reached 102 degrees Sunday, meteorologist Robert Garcia said from the weather service's Peachtree City, Ga., office.

Reason's daughter, Melissa Powell, lives next door to her on Bennett Road.

Powell went with some friends and their two children to Lake Winnie on Sunday, but they spent less than two hours there. The melting heat prompted the adults to fib to the kids, telling them the park was closing because of the weather and promising to take them to the movies instead.

"I didn't tell the lies," Powell said just before retreating into her air-conditioned home.

The movie idea wasn't novel. Vehicles filled the parking lot at Rave Motion Pictures East Ridge 18.

Joyce Upton took her 8-year old granddaughter, Jodi Hardin, to see "Brave."

"Yesterday afternoon when it was so hot" they decided they would head to the movies the following day, Upton said.

At Hamilton Place mall, Tammy Jackson fanned herself as she walked through the entrance.

"Today I'm just beating the heat," she said of her trip to the mall. "I don't even usually come."

Folks like Samantha Frady took to the water. Her 5-year-old daughter, Avianna Donahue, spent much of Saturday and Sunday in the swimming area near the Chickamauga Dam.

"It's too hot for anything other than swimming," Frady said.

about Ansley Haman...

Ansley Haman covers Hamilton County government. A native of Spring City, Tenn., she grew up reading the Chattanooga Times and Chattanooga Free Press, which sparked her passion for journalism. Ansley's happy to be home after a decade of adventures in more than 20 countries and 40 states. She gathered stories while living, working and studying in Swansea, Wales, Cape Town, South Africa, Washington, D.C., Atlanta, Ga., and Knoxville, Tenn. Along the way, she interned for ...

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