It may be hard to think about winter this early in November, but it’s coming. A total of 6.5 inches is the average annual snowfall in Knoxville, but an El Niño is developing and might impact our weather even though it occurs in the Pacific Ocean. Regional folklore says persimmon seeds and wooly worms can also give clues to the winter ahead. Gut feelings and the status of the Arctic Oscillation are also factors.
The Arctic Oscillation traps the cold air to the north, but at times a chunk of cold air will break off, creating a trough of low pressure over the Southeast. If we get moisture to mix with the cold air, we could get some decent snow.
In East Tennessee, we deal with sleet and freezing rain at times and they can provide some icy conditions. Based on what we have discussed and using a little gut feeling from years of living in East Tennessee, I believe seven to 10 inches of snow in Knoxville are possible. It won’t come all at one time, but a couple decent snows are possible.
I think you could see 10-15 inches of snow on the plateau. The Smokies could see 60 to 80 inches of snow and possibly more over the higher elevations.
By the way, we have about a seven percent chance of a white Christmas.