An In-Depth Look at Snowfall in Tennessee
Tennessee, the ‘Volunteer State’, is renowned for its strategic geographical location, nestled amidst eight other states. Its crowning glory is undoubtedly the majestic Smoky Mountains. However, one question that often pops up in the minds of tourists and residents alike is – “Does it snow in Tennessee?” and “What does snowfall in Tennessee look like?”
The answer, as we shall explore in this comprehensive guide, is affirmative but nuanced. The snowfall varies across the state, primarily due to the broad range of altitudes within its borders. Let’s delve deeper into understanding winter snowfall in Tennessee, its snowfall patterns, and the best places to experience Tennessee’s winter wonderland.
The Winter Months in Tennessee
Tennessee experiences mild winters, with the exception of its high-elevation regions in the east. The winter season in Tennessee extends from November through February. However, the most likely months to witness snowfall are January and February.
Snowfall in November
The onset of winter in Tennessee is marked by November, with temperatures still relatively warm. Temperatures typically fluctuate between highs of 56 degrees Fahrenheit (13.3 degrees Celsius) and lows of 39 degrees Fahrenheit (3.88 degrees Celsius). Snowfall during this month is highly uncommon as temperatures remain well above the freezing point.
Snowfall in December
As the calendar turns to December, there is a noticeable drop in daily average temperatures. The mercury dips to lows of 33 degrees Fahrenheit (1 degree Celsius), making it possible for snow flurries to start descending upon various parts of the state. On average, Tennessee sees about three snowfall days in December, accumulating up to a depth of 1 inch (25.4 millimeters).
Snowfall in January
January is the coldest and snowiest month in Tennessee. The daily average temperatures oscillate between 48 degrees Fahrenheit (8.9 degrees Celsius) and 32 degrees Fahrenheit (0 degrees Celsius). Cities like Nashville record 4.7 snowfall days and collect up to 0.94 inches (24 millimeters) of snow during this month.
Snowfall in February
February is the last month of winter in Tennessee. However, it’s also a month that can bring a fair share of snow. Nashville, for instance, has an average of 4.1 snowfall days and sees a snow depth of about 0.71 inches (18mm).
Where Does it Snow in Tennessee?
While snowfall is a possibility in various parts of Tennessee, certain cities and regions are more likely to witness this winter spectacle due to their higher elevations and cooler climates.
Snow in Nashville
Nashville, the capital and most populous city of Tennessee, experiences snowfall starting from November and lasting until April. On average, Nashville witnesses snowfall for approximately 14.6 days throughout the year, accumulating up to a depth of 2.99 inches (76 millimeters).
Snow in Memphis
Memphis, perched on the banks of the Mississippi River, is Tennessee’s second most populous city. The city’s coldest month is January, with temperatures dipping as low as 30 degrees Fahrenheit (-1 degree Celsius). Memphis sees about 4 inches (102 millimeters) of snow annually.
Snow in Knoxville
Knoxville, the third-largest city in Tennessee, also sees its fair share of snow. The city’s coldest month is January, with average temperatures dropping to 28 degrees Fahrenheit (-2.2 degrees Celsius). Every winter season, Knoxville collects up to 6 inches (152 millimeters) of snow.
Snow in Bristol
Bristol, located in northeastern Tennessee, is one of the snowiest cities in the state. Thanks to its high elevation, Bristol receives approximately 13 inches (330 millimeters) of snow annually, with a significant proportion falling in January.
Snow in Mountain City
Mountain City, a town nestled in Johnson County, holds the crown for the highest snowfall in Tennessee. With its high elevation of 2418 feet (737 meters) and a cool subtropical highland climate, Mountain City receives about 13.5 inches (343mm) of snow annually.
Skiing and Snow Tubing in Tennessee
For winter sports enthusiasts, Tennessee offers a selection of locales to indulge in skiing and snow tubing.
Tennessee’s only ski resort, Ober Gatlinburg, is nestled on the Great Smoky Mountain near Gatlinburg. The resort offers an array of winter activities, including skiing, snowboarding, snow tubing, and ice skating. Ober Gatlinburg boasts 6.2 km of skiable slope divided into different difficulty levels, serviced by four ski lifts.
Pigeon Forge Snow and Rowdy Bear’s Smoky Mountain Snowpark
For a quick and fun snow experience, Pigeon Forge Snow and Rowdy Bear’s Smoky Mountain Snowpark are two excellent options. Both offer a great place to experience winter sports without the hassle of traveling to high elevations. Pigeon Forge Snow even features a snow room where kids can romp and play year-round.
While Tennessee might not be the first place that comes to mind when one thinks of snow, it certainly offers its fair share of winter wonder. From the snowy peaks of the Smoky Mountains to the snow tubing parks of Pigeon Forge, Tennessee provides a variety of winter experiences that are sure to delight visitors and residents alike.