published Saturday, July 6th, 2013

Rain, rain won't go away, but no clear skies until Monday

Mia Freeman, left, and Jane Claire Ragon play with their umbrellas Friday outside of the Blue Plate before going to the Tennessee Aquarium. Rain is expected to continue on and off into Sunday.
Mia Freeman, left, and Jane Claire Ragon play with their umbrellas Friday outside of the Blue Plate before going to the Tennessee Aquarium. Rain is expected to continue on and off into Sunday.
Photo by Angela Lewis.
  • photo
    Noah Wilson opens his mouth to catch raindrops as he waits for the Chattanooga Lookouts baseball game against the Jacksonville Suns to begin Friday at AT&T Field. Wilson and his East Brainerd Tornadoes baseball team were waiting to take the field with the Lookouts players. The game was postponed due to the weather.
    Photo by Doug Strickland.
    enlarge photo

Poll
Is rain affecting your weekend plans?

NO RECORD FOR RAIN

June 2013: 4.47 inches

Record June: 9.40 inches

July 4, 2013: 0.98 inches

Record July 4: 2.99 inches

Source: National Weather Service

The rain clouds that ruined Independence Day firework shows and shut down poolside barbecue plans won't be clearing up in time for the weekend.

Expect more damp, downcast days with scattered periods of heavy rain, said Jerry Heverdeys, a National Weather Service forecaster in Morristown, Tenn. Clear skies won't show up until Monday, just when the city returns to work. Later in the week, afternoon thunderstorms are likely just about every day.

"There is a lot of rain still coming," Heverdeys said.

While the wet days have felt endless and especially paralyzing, because many had expectations for the holiday break and family traveling, the weather hasn't broken any records, he said.

On July 4, rainfall was 0.98 inches; the record is 2.99 inches in 1941.

The record for June was 9.40 inches in 1949, while this June had 4.47 inches of rain.

Still, rainfall for the year is far above normal, said Paul Barys, meteorologist for WRCB Channel 3. As of Friday morning, the area was 13.1 inches ahead of the 30-year average, he said.

There is so much water in the ground, plumes of moisture are rising into the atmosphere and generating thunderstorms, he said. It's a flip from last year, he said, when the dry days were reaching higher than 90 degrees.

"This is not a typical summer pattern, especially for down here," Barys said. "The Southeast has been unusually wet. That is why everything is so green. If you really listen closely you can hear the grass growing. I can't remember having to cut my lawn so much."

Chattanooga, Soddy-Daisy, Collegedale and Georgia's Fort Oglethorpe and Lake Winnepesaukah amusement park all canceled their fireworks shows. Soddy-Daisy moved its fireworks to Oct. 5 to coincide with the Pumpkin Festival, while Lake Winnie in Rossville still plans to light up the sky on both Saturday and Sunday at 10 p.m.

Still, the disappointed quickly found their ways to local fireworks stores, where they tried to build their own shows with reloadables and 50 Grams, local firework sellers say.

David Dumm, a manager at Fireworks Supermarket in Cleveland, Tenn., said fireworks don't perform well in rain, obviously, but many will wait for a short break in the weather, then light the match.

In downtown Chattanooga, baseball's Lookouts lit their fireworks on July Fourth in the midst of rainfall and the lights cut the black sky beautifully. The bur sts were just as bold, the colors as bright.

Last year, the drought made everyone worried that a stray spark would set fires. Not this year.

"They were really excited not to have to worry about that," Dumm said.

On Friday the store was extremely busy as people bought fireworks despite the soggy weekend predicted, he said.

Contact staff writer Joan McClane at jmcclane@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6601. Follow her on Twitter at @JoanGarrettCTFP.

about Joan Garrett McClane...

Joan Garrett McClane has been a staff writer for the Times Free Press since August 2007. Before becoming a general assignment writer for the paper, she wrote about business, higher education and the court systems. She grew up the oldest of five sisters near Birmingham, Ala., and graduated with a master's and bachelor's degrees in journalism from the University of Alabama. Before landing her first full-time job as a reporter at the Times Free Press, ...

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