KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) - There's a chill in the air, and that means winter is just around the corner. The big questions are just how cold will it be for the holidays and will it be a white Christmas?
Many factors go into a winter forecast, so let's boil it down to the simplest part: La Nina, the cooler than normal temperatures off the equatorial Pacific, off the coast of South America, and off the West Coast of the United States. It has a tendency in the Southeast to bring wetter-than-average weather in the winter time and warmer than average temperatures: that's not really conducive for a really cold weather.
That doesn't mean we won't get any precipitation at all, but just warmer than average can vary the kind of precipitation we get.
Thanksgiving and Christmas
Thanksgiving will likely be in the mid 50s, which is average for this time of year. The average low is 36.
The snowiest winter was seven inches in 1969. We got 2.5 inches on Christmas in 2010 and have only had 12 white Christmases in 144 years. The official forecast for Christmas Day is 42, when average highs are 48, so for now, it doesn't look like a white Christmas.
I think we'll see several cold snaps. There will be short cold snaps in December, January and February. If we can get the moisture in one of those or two of those, we could get between three and six inches of snow, most of that in one to two inch amounts. That's slightly below average for this time of the year.
Folks on the Cumberland Plateau could pick up 10 to 12 inches of snow. There likely won't be a major shift in the weather pattern over the last year into this year, so 10 to 12 inches of snow on the plateau.
The tops of the Smokies could see 60 to 80 inches at higher elevations; lower elevations not as much.
No matter what happens, there will be some snow in East Tennessee and there will be cold temperatures. The question is can we get the two to mix together to get snow to stick.
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