KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — East Tennessee has seen significantly less snow than the average amount this winter, and the La Niña weather pattern may be to blame.
This year’s La Niña winter is the third year in a row. Coming on the heels of a drought, the pattern was expected to bring more moisture in the form of rain, rather than snow, in December.
WATE Storm Team Meteorologist Ken Weathers explained that the weather patterns that have been seen in East Tennessee this winter are typical for a La Niña pattern. Typically this weather pattern is milder and wetter-than-average, and in the last two La Niña winters, East Tennessee saw 5.3″ of snow in 2020 and 10.7″ in 2021.
Weathers said on average, Knoxville sees 4.6″ of snow, Tri-Cities sees 9.2″, and Chattanooga sees 3.6″, but none of the cities have even reached the lowest average this winter. According to the Storm Team, Knoxville has gotten the most snow of the three cities with 1.6″ of snow. Tri-Cities received a little over half an inch, and Chattanooga has only gotten a tenth of an inch of snow.
While East Tennessee hasn’t seen much snow yet, it can’t be ruled out for the year. Weathers found the latest snows that Knoxville has seen, and found that back in 1983 on April 8, Knoxville got 2″ in snowfall. The second and third latest snowfalls saw more, with April 6 and 7, 1971 seeing 7″ of snow and April 3, 1987 seeing 10.5″ of snow.
Weathers added that these late snowfalls show that snow later this year may be possible, but does not mean it is necessarily likely.