KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Elevation plays a key role in the type of weather forecasted for your area. Knowing what elevation you live at will help you to better understand why your location is receiving precipitation, and why it may look different from other areas in within the same county.

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“When you see a forecast think about your own backyard,” said WATE Meteorologist Victoria Cavaliere. “If you live at the top of a hill, your neighbor at the bottom of the hill might not always see exactly the same weather as you.”

Understanding elevation doesn’t only apply to people who live on the top of a mountain. If you live in areas such as Sevier County, Cocke County, Blount County, or anywhere along a mountainous region, you should be aware of your elevation.

Knowing how high or low you are isn’t just important during winter weather, it plays a role in majority of forecasts. You may not realize how high or low you actually are, for reference:

Downtown Gatlinburg sits below Cades Cove at 1,407 feet, and downtown Knoxville below that at 915 feet.

East Tennessee city elevations:

  • Crossville: 1,831 feet
  • Morristown: 1,316 feet
  • Loudon: 804 feet
  • Maryville: 912 feet
  • Oneida: 1,457 feet
  • Dandridge: 1,004 feet
  • Oak Ridge: 866
  • Cumberland Gap: 1,306

While you may be in the same county as an area that is high in elevation, you may experience weather that is slightly different. Cavaliere explains that the reason for this, is due to something called upslope flow. As air climbs up the mountain, it will cool.

By Saturday morning, the WATE Storm Team’s forecast is anticipating between 2 and 4 inches of snow for elevations above 3,000 feet in the Great Smoky Mountains. The foothills of the Smokies as well as areas of the Cumberland Plateau that are around 1,500 to 3,000 feet may see around an inch, but for the Tennessee Valley, only a dusting is expected.

With cold temperatures moving through Tennessee, check your elevation to see what sort of weather your area will be experiencing.