News from the Tennessee Valley State, Local and National news

Frosty, the
Easter bunny

2 weeks into spring, it's feeling a lot like Christmas in much of the country

From staff, AP reports

The temperature in the Tennessee Valley dropped to 26 degrees Sunday morning, shattering a record for the second straight day, according to Patrick Gatlin, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Huntsville.

The old record low for April 8 was 28 degrees in 1958. Saturday morning’s temperature dipped to 25 degrees, breaking a 27-degree record for that day set in 1950.

Coldest in Decatur

Gatlin said Pryor Field registered an even colder temperature Sunday at 23 degrees, but he said the Decatur airport is “not a certified climate location.”

“Official records are what are posted at Huntsville International Airport,” he noted.

Still, the buzz around the state Sunday was that Decatur had the coldest temperature. The lowest official temperature during the month was established April 1, 1923, at 24 degrees.

“This cold spell should come to an end Monday,” Gatlin said. “We’re expecting another chance of rain the middle of the week, and temperatures should get back to more normal values by that time, which would mean highs around 70 and lows in the middle 40s.”

An unseasonable cold snap put a chill on Easter Sunday services across the Southeast and much of the rest of the country, moving some events indoors and adding layers over spring frocks.

The usual courtyard service at Wesley Memorial United Methodist Church in Columbia, S.C., had to be moved indoors, said the Rev. Michael Bingham. Sunday morning lows in Columbia dropped to the upper 20s, the National Weather Service said.

“Our musicians are worried about their fingers,” he said Saturday as the church’s plans were being changed.

Across much of the eastern two-thirds of the nation, Easter celebrants swapped frills, bonnets and sandals for coats, scarves and heavy socks. Baseball fans huddled in blankets and, instead of spring planting, backyard gardeners were bundling their crops.

Two weeks into spring, Easter morning temperatures were in the upper 30s along the Gulf Coast and in the single digits in northern Minnesota and the Dakotas.

Atlanta had a low of 30 degrees, with a wind chill of 23, the weather service said. The same reading put a chill on New York City’s Fifth Avenue, celebrated in song for the traditional Easter Parade of spring finery.

Tenth of normal size

Despite the chill, nearly 1,000 people attended the annual sunrise service at Georgia’s Stone Mountain Park, as a slight breeze whipped over the granite monument. The service usually attracts 10,000.

Later in the afternoon, about 5,000 people braved the wind and chill in Homer, a small town in the foothills of the North Georgia mountains that claims one of the nation’s largest Easter egg hunts.

“We’ve had cold weather before, but this might have been the coldest,” said Sandra Garrison, whose family hid more than 100,000 plastic eggs on its farm, continuing a 48-year tradition. “They had their coats on for sure.”

And at Turner Field in Atlanta, much of a less-than-capacity crowd wrapped themselves in winter coats and thick blankets to watch the Braves defeat the New York Mets.

Nashville bottomed out Sunday at 23 degrees, knocking one degree off the Easter Sunday record set on March 24, 1940.

Light snow showers were scattered over the western Plains and around the Great Lakes and Ohio Valley.

Officials in Morrison, Colo., canceled Sunday’s annual sunrise service at the Red Rocks Amphitheater because seats and stairways were covered with ice.

Winter clothes for hunt

Children in Chicago donned winter clothing for an Easter egg hunt at the Glessner House Museum. The city high reached just 32 degrees on Saturday — matching a record set in 1936 — and Sunday’s low was 28.

The Windy City’s average high for early April is 54.

“All the little kids had boots on, and some of them were trying to wear their spring dresses. It was awful,” said Clare Schaecher, the museum’s education director.

Visitors to the nation’s capital awoke Saturday to see cherry blossoms coated with snow. Snow also fell in metro Atlanta Friday night, and even in parts of West Texas and the Texas Panhandle.

East of Cleveland in the city of Chardon, about 16 inches of snow has fallen, and forecasters predicted the region could get another 10 inches before the storms tapered off late Sunday. Temperatures were expected to remain unseasonably cold through much of the week.

Copyright 2005 THE DECATUR DAILY. All rights reserved.
AP contributed to this report.

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