Apr. 25—Chattanoogans may breathe a sign of relief since the weather forecast for this week is mild, but Mother Nature has had her way on this week in history.
Ten years ago Tuesday, a series of deadly tornadoes smashed into several parts of Hamilton and Bradley counties and North Georgia, killing 25 and injuring hundreds.
Many people will remember that April 27 — the hours-long threat, the scattering of the twisters, the huge pieces of hail that fell out of the sky and the terror of destruction at night.
What no one here will remember is that Chattanooga's record April snowfall also occurred this week — in 1910. Modern weather annals put the amount at 4.1 inches.
It was the third of only five times snow more than 0.1 has fallen in the city in April. The last time was 1987, when 2.8 inches fell on April 3.
Last week, the temperature fell into the low 30s, but no snow fell. However, Kentucky and Arkansas did get small amounts.
On April 25, 1910, though, never had snow fallen so late in the spring, the Chattanooga Daily Times reported the next day.
"In Chattanooga snow began falling early yesterday morning in large, soft flakes," the newspaper wrote. "The precipitation was quite heavy during the morning hours, gradually holding up, however, as the day advanced. The snow in the city melted almost as fast as it fell to the ground. It remained for several hours on the trees and buildings."
The temperature fell to 32.9 degrees, it was reported.
The newspaper reported it was Lookout Mountain's first experience with a "summertime snowstorm." Six inches of snow was reported to have fallen there, with the same amounts observed at Montlake, Fairmount and Walden's Ridge.
The snow was said to be "dry and powdery" and the wind "snappy as in winter season."
While the white stuff might have been a temporary visual wonderland, it was of great concern to growers of strawberries and peaches.
The snow itself was thought to be OK, with the report saying "it is known berries cannot freeze when covered by snow." Temperatures below freezing, though, were feared "would ruin the crop entirely."
Unfortunately, "a great many of the vegetables, such as beans, tomatoes, cucumbers and the like, all over the section, were said to be a total loss."
The truck farmers, it was reported, were already preparing for a second planting.
Chattanooga wasn't the southernmost point for the snow. It was reported as far south as Selma, Alabama, Columbus, Mississippi, and Columbus, Georgia. In those areas, millions of acres of cotton crops were thought to be destroyed.
The next day, the area fruit report wasn't too bad. The strawberries were tabbed from "injured to a slight extent" to "unhurt."
"As usual," a Times subhead said, "people take fright too soon at threatened freeze."
Prior to the day of April 27, 2011, though, local meteorologists told residents they ought to be frightened about what could happen with the potential for tornadoes — very frightened.
By the end of the day, according to the National Weather Service, 12 tornadoes touched down in Hamilton County — an EF4 in Collegedale that killed 13 in the region and injured more than 200, an EF2 in Lookout Valley, six EF1s and four EF0s.
Close to 100,000 people were without power at one point, the most in its 72-year history, according to EPB.
So, the week hold the city's deadliest tornado outbreak and its latest snowfall. But Mother Nature appears to be giving us a break this year with some sun and some rain. We'll take it.