published Monday, January 27th, 2014

Warmth welcomed, but cold will return to the greater Chattanooga area

The Market Street Bridge is opened during the Tennessee Department of Transportation's quarterly testing in this file photo.
The Market Street Bridge is opened during the Tennessee Department of Transportation's quarterly testing in this file photo.
Photo by C. B. Schmelter.

Seated on an overturned bucket in the middle of a rocky embankment overlooking the Tennessee River at Ross's Landing, Austin Wyatt directed four fishing poles at once Sunday afternoon.

"I'm really enjoying it because I haven't really been able to get down here as much as I want to," Wyatt said. "I've been working about six days a week."

Uncharacteristically cold weather also has hampered Wyatt and others in the Tennessee Valley from enjoying the outdoors in 2014. But Sunday was different.

Though a light breeze wafting in off the water kept Wyatt and most of the late afternoon parkgoers in their coats, highs neared 60 degrees and offered a reprieve from the recent frigid conditions that will be returning to the area this week.

"It's going to start getting colder again, especially tomorrow afternoon; the temperatures will start dropping," said WRCB meteorologist Nick Austin.

Temperatures are expected to fall to single digits Tuesday night as an unseasonably chilly month wraps up with yet another wave of cool temperatures brought around again by the polar vortex.

"It is quite abnormal," Austin said. "January is typically the coldest month on average, but we don't usually get this many cold snaps in succession lasting two to three days."

The National Weather Service predicts a high of 26 for Tuesday after the temperatures drop from a projected high of 40 early Monday. Tuesday night's low is projected at 6 degrees.

Austin said temps would start climbing toward the end of the week. He said people could see a few flurries, but added that snow is unlikely to accumulate in the city.

Wyatt, 55, is a frequent fisher -- he's been coming this spot on the bank since he was a boy -- but the one thing he can't stand is when temperatures drop enough to freeze his hands.

"Once my hands get cold, I lose all feeling," Wyatt said. "There's no sense in sitting out here if I can't feel anything but the wind. But this is a pretty good day to take it in right now."

Pam Nease relished the bearable weather Sunday by taking her daughter, Adi, and Adi's friend Reagan to slide down the grassy hill at Ross's Landing on dismantled shoe boxes.

In fact, they chose the park over heading to the mall. After all, you can shop even when it's freezing.

The seemingly unpredictable weather conditions of Chattanooga do not bother the Nease family.

"Look at her," Pam Nease said, nodding towards her daughter. "She's barefoot, no jacket and it's January and I think Monday night or Tuesday it might snow. How fun is that?"

Contact staff writer David Cobb at dcobb@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6731.

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