Does It Snow In Tennessee? Average Monthly Snowfall In Tennessee.

When you’re thinking about traveling throughout the United States in the winter, you may think that all southern states will be snow-free through the winter. However, some southern states are still prone to some snowfall, even if it’s not a lot. For example, does it snow in Tennessee?

Tennessee does see some snow in the winter, though it’s not common that the entire country will get covered in blankets of snow. The southern state has a similar climate and weather pattern as other southern states, with higher elevation points seeing crisper air and more snow than lower elevation points. 

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There are some pockets in Tennessee that will see more snow than others, meaning there are a couple of destinations you’ll want to visit in the state if you’re looking for some fun in the snow. 

Does It Snow In Tennessee?

As with many southern states, Tennessee ends up getting snow in the winter. The amount that hits the state each year varies, as done where the snow falls. Of course, the northern regions of Tennessee are more likely to get more consistent snow than the southern regions. 

There are some national parks and forested areas situated along the northern parts of Tennessee, and these parts tend to stay cold all winter and get significant snowfalls comparatively. As such, the area can get hazardous from time to time. 

Freezing rain spreads throughout Tennessee during the winter months, usually more often than snow does except for high elevation points. This can make conditions very slippery on the roads, as well as for those traveling on foot. 

Does Tennessee Get A Lot Of Snow?

On average, Tennessee has been known to get about nine inches of snow during a winter. Being a southern state without many mountain ranges or high elevation points, there are only some spots in Tennessee that see a sprinkle of snow or a lot of snow, and quite a few that will barely see any during an average winter. 

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Even if there is a large snowfall, the snow doesn’t usually stay on the ground for a long time. This is because temperatures don’t drop below freezing often and the air stays dry, so the snow is likely to melt within a day or two after falling. It will stick to those northern portions of the state for longer, however. 

When Does It Snow In Tennessee?

Tennessee has been known to see snow between the months of December and April, though it’s mostly concentrated at the beginning of the year. January is the month when the most snow tends to fall. In those higher elevation points in the state, snow can fall up until April, and temperatures tend to stay quite chilly. 

Snow doesn’t tend to fall consistently in the state, either. Outside of high elevations, Tennessee will usually only see a few snow days a year.

Popular Snowy Destinations In Tennessee

The best place where you’re most likely to see winter snow is Gatlinburg, which is a part of the iconic Smoky Mountains. This is one of the best areas in Tennessee to partake in some winter sports. It’s also a beautiful area around the holidays, with plenty of cute boutiques to get some holiday shopping done while enjoying a vacation. 

Cookeville is another gorgeous area of Tennessee where, based on weather trends in the area, you’re likely to see plenty of snow. Cookeville does get quite chilly, and when the holidays are on the horizon, the small town ends up looking like something out of a Hallmark movie. 

Nashville and Knoxville are two popular destinations in Tennessee, though they are more suitable for those who want to travel through a picturesque area with sprinkles of snow as opposed to engaging in winter activities. Knoxville hardly gets snow, while Nashville usually gets a small snowfall or two most winters. 

If you’re a fan of the snow, you’ll be pleased to know that it’s much easier to navigate around Tennessee in the winter when trying to avoid heavy tourism traffic. The state tends not to be frequented by tourists when winter arrives, so you’ll be able to enjoy some of the hotspots of the state without a lot of interruption. 

What Parts Of Tennessee Usually Get Snow?

Outside of the Smoky Mountain National Park, there are some pockets of the state that are more likely to see at least some snow than others. For example, eastern portions of Tennessee will usually see snow in winter. There are quite a few mountains in eastern Tennessee, especially where the state borders North Carolina and Virginia, so those high points will often see snow. 

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The area of Cumberland Plateau will also see a good amount of snow during the winter, and will also see some chilly temperatures. Some other spots that get colder and snowier include Chattanooga, Monterey, and Deer Lodge. 

What Is Winter Like In Tennessee?

Tennessee tends to get a full winter season temperature-wise, but it doesn’t necessarily snow every month. January and February are the two months where you’re likely to see the most snowfall. 

It is possible, however, that some areas of the state will start seeing flurries in December. When you get farther north, you may even see snowfall or two in October and November, though it’s not guaranteed. 

Tennessee has been known to experience the occasional snowstorm but it’s not a guarantee that one will happen every winter. If you’re making your way through the Smoky Mountains, it’s best to travel slowly, check weather predictions, and have a solid pair of winter boots packed with you just in case. 

What Is Spring Like In Tennessee?

May tends to see the most rainfall compared to March and April, but the entire season of spring usually stays quite comfortable temperature-wise. It can get a little bit colder during nightfall in March, but once April and May approach, the chill in the air starts to diminish. The state tends to see lots of sun interspersed with some rain, making for a scenic state to travel through. 

What Is Summer Like In Tennessee?

Summers can get quite hot in Tennessee, with temperatures known to get as high as 88-90 degrees Fahrenheit, or about 31 degrees Celsius. A typical Tennessee summer will start in June and last until August before temperatures start to slowly fall. In typical summer fashion, July will often be the hottest month, and temperatures can sometimes reach as high as 100 degrees Fahrenheit. 

The days tend to stretch out longer during Tennessee summers as the sun stays up for longer. It’s also common to see thunderstorms split up the frequent sunshine and humidity, and these storms often bring substantial rainfall to the state. Evenings offer a bit of relief from the humidity, but temperatures don’t get very cold. 

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What Is Fall Like In Tennessee?

Tennessee offers some of the most breathtaking scenic opportunities in the fall. The temperature stays mild and much of summer’s humidity has dissipated, making it the ideal season to spend outdoors. As a result, fall is one of the most popular seasons for tourists to visit Tennessee. 

Depending on where you are in Tennessee, a typical fall season will stretch from September to December, while some areas might start to see some snowfall sooner. The rain also settles down between September and October, making it much easier to stay outside and bask in all the natural beauty. 

The Tennessee Climate 

The overall climate of the state of Tennessee is subtropical and humid. The state is close to the Gulf of Mexico, which is a large proponent of its subtropical and humid climate. In the east of the state, elevation is higher, meaning it tends to stay colder in eastern Tennessee. 

Many states falling on the southern portion of the United States would be classified with similar climates since they are situated closer to the equator. The state’s location also makes it susceptible to tornadoes and other inclement weather, and the frequency of rain can occasionally cause flooding. 

Temperatures stay fairly comfortable throughout the year, with summers not getting unbearably hot and winters not creating unsafely chilly conditions. Temperatures don’t usually get higher than the high 80s, and don’t generally get too far below freezing, though at some points winters can drop a couple of degrees below freezing. 

Additionally, Tennessee sees quite a bit of rain each year regardless of the season. With the diversity in elevation within the small state, there is also vast biodiversity, ample types of trees, and a lot of different animals that call Tennessee home. 

Final Thoughts 

So does it snow in Tennessee? More than you might have assumed given where it’s situated, but not as much as many other states. As such, you may not experience snowfall in the state if you’re there in winter, depending on where you are staying. 

No matter if you see a small amount or a large amount of snow, Tennessee is such a beautiful state that you’re bound to enjoy your time there. 


Marta Kovachek
About the author: Marta Kovachek graduated from the university with a master’s degree in Economics. Marta enjoys writing about the current economic situation and loves helping our readers to find their next "destination". From places to live to complex social and economic topics, we always enjoy Marta's work. Please contact us in case of any questions.