Arctic blast breaks records in East Tennessee

Posted on Tuesday, January 7, 2014 at 11:54 am

The Scenic Overlook at Panther Creek Park was closed Tuesday morning but the rest of the park still offers wintry scenes as an arctic blast plunged the Lakeway Area into record lows.

The Scenic Overlook at Panther Creek Park was closed Tuesday morning but the rest of the park still offers wintry scenes as an arctic blast plunged the Lakeway Area into record lows.

The arctic blast that continues to hold the area in its icy grip has broken records across East Tennessee.

Tuesday morning’s low of -1 degree broke the record low temperature for this date of 12 degrees, which was set in 2004. Knoxville’s previous low of 6 degrees was broken when the mercury dropped to 2 degrees.

Cold temperatures in Tri-Cities have broken three records in two days. Monday morning’s temperature of 3 degrees broke a record set in 1959. Three hours later, that record was broken when the temperature dropped to 2 degrees, according to meteorologist Jessica Hinton, with the National Weather Service office in Morristown.

Chattanooga recorded an overnight low of 5 degrees, breaking the record 9 degrees set in 1970.

Luckily, none of the areas came close to breaking all-time record lows.

Hinton said the all-time low in Morristown was -8 degrees, set on Feb. 5, 1996. Knoxville’s all-time low is -24 degrees, Chattanooga’s is -10 degrees and the record low at Tri-Cities is -21 degrees.

Because of the bone-chilling temperatures, the NWS issued a wind chill advisory for parts of the central valley, including Hamblen, Jefferson, Grainger, and parts of Cocke County. A wind chill warning was issued for Claiborne, Greene, Hancock, Hawkins and parts of Cocke County. All expired at noon Tuesday.

The temperatures are expected to rise only to 16 or 17 degrees, Hinton said. But because winds are expected to decrease Tuesday morning to 5 mph or less and to become nearly calm, overnight, “it will help with the wind chill factor.”

Lows are expected to drop to 9 degrees overnight. The forecast calls for the area to climb above freezing on Wednesday, when temperature are expected to reach the upper 30s to low 40s.

For information on ways to protect pets and water pipes during the cold weather, visit www.redcross.org.

-By Denise Williams, Tribune Staff Writer

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