Week forecast (high / low):
Today: 87 / 64 -- few clouds
Tuesday: 89 / 65 -- few clouds
Wednesday: 89 / 68 -- fair
Thursday: 92 / 71 -- humid, spotty storms
Friday: 92 / 69 -- isolated storms
Saturday: 92 /70 -- isolated storms
Source: WRCB forecast
June: 4.47 inches (4.05 average)
July: 8.49 inches (4.91 average)
August: 6.53 inches* (3.77 average)
2013: 54.16 inches* (34.54 average)
* As of Saturday
Source: National Weather Service, Morristown, TN
Here comes the sun.
After enduring a frequently rainy summer, Chattanooga is now slated for a stretch of warm, sunny days.
"The dog days of summer are behind us, but we appear to be heading into the hottest week of the summer for the next few days," National Weather Service meteorologist Shawn O'Neill said from the Morristown, Tenn., office. "But that's because we've been cooler than normal this summer."
This summer has otherwise been mild and cloudy -- July's average temperature of 85.8 degrees ranks as the coolest in 34 years. After a similar 85-degree average in August, the Scenic City should expect to see highs consistently around 90 degrees through Saturday.
"The normal hottest time of the year is late July and early August," O'Neill said. "It's just like how the hottest part of the day is towards the end of the afternoon. As the minutes of sunshine are less, there's that much less opportunity for solar heating."
And with the refreshing sunlight comes a dry forecast. Chattanooga has seen substantial rainfall this summer. As of Sunday, the city measured 6.53 inches of rain for the month, nearly double the average precipitation total of 3.77 inches. July had 8.5 inches of rain, about 3.58 inches more than average.
This year, Chattanooga has received 20 inches more rain than usual -- a welcome difference from last year's summer drought. But we're in for a quick break from the usual onslaught of humidity.
"The next few days will feel more comfy," said WRCB meteorologist Nick Austin. "We will see those pop-up showers again, but not until later again in the week. Even so, it won't be widespread stuff, just storms in two or three areas."
Sunday's bright blue skies and cooperative clouds encouraged many locals to capitalize on the pleasant weather. Flocks of families could be seen strolling around the Tennessee Riverwalk, dining outdoors along Market Street and finding their own adventures by the Tennessee River.
Clay Alexander, a Chattanooga resident, was hosting his young nephew August, from New York City. The two were spending their Sunday among other families at Renaissance Park sliding down the hill on cardboard boxes they found scattered around the area.
Chattanooga has seen rain in six of the last nine days, but the soaked soil didn't deter anyone from creatively scooting and maneuvering down the park's spiral hill.
"There's still a few dry spots left for the kids to go down," Alexander said. "Right now, it's a little bit difficult."
Meanwhile, two UTC color guard members were practicing throwing rifles and "air blades" under roomy trees on the north side of the river.
"We don't spin weapons in our shows, so we just have fun doing it out here," sophomore Jamie Inman said.
UTC's color guard mostly practices indoors, so the group was glad to set some outside experience. The duo are so devoted to their craft, they have nicknames for their props -- "Willie" the rifle and "Charlie" the airblade, respectively.
Two of their friends had set up canvas hammocks in the shade and watched as Willie and Charlie got plenty of air time.
"Chattanooga is such a beautiful place," sophomore Abby Hensley said. "They should have more places to hang hammocks. It's one of the most beautiful ways to explore nature."
Contact staff writer Jeff LaFave at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6592.
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