Record coldest day remembered - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Record coldest day remembered

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CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) - Weather made the front page headline of the Chattanooga Times on the morning of February 1, 1966. The day before, the official low temperature at Lovell Field dropped to 10 degrees below zero, the coldest temperature ever on record for the city. It tied a record that stood since February 13, 1899.

Channel 3 Sky Watcher Sue Sewell lives nearby in Red Bank and remembers it well.

"They had told us it's going to down below zero. So we tried to get everything ready," Sewell recalls. "Our water didn't freeze."

Thankfully, her family had wrapped the outdoor pipes for protection.

She lived in a different part of Red Bank in those days, but recalls most activities in the Chattanooga metro area coming to a halt in the deep freeze.

"A lot of plants and factories shut down," Sewell adds.

It was too much to handle.

"The northern states can do this. We can't," admits Sewell.

It snowed the day before and then it iced over. With many schools and businesses closed, people braved the cold to sled and even ski down various hills around town. People were skating on their frozen lawns.

Unfortunately, the frigid temperatures were too much to bear for the Sewell's pet Siamese cat who sneaked out of the house.

"I guess she went under the house. Found a little hole," explains Sewell. "And the next day it was sad for my kids because they were small at the time. Their cat was laying out in the yard dead."

They lost power, too, but not for as long as some of their neighbors who had no electricity for two weeks. They saw a chance to help.

"We had a gas stove that we used out camping. They say don't use it in the house, but we brought it in the kitchen and cooked for some of our neighbors," remembers Sewell.

Sometimes it takes mother nature behaving badly to bring a community together. But as far as Sewell's concerned, below zero temperatures can stay up north.

"I hope it don't happen again," exclaims Sewell.

That all-time record was tied once again on January 21, 1985. But, according to the National Weather Service, Chattanooga has never been officially below zero since then.
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