La Nina and what it means for East Tennessee
The winter season is upon us and the 6 Storm Team is ready with the latest winter weather forecast for the upcoming season. Similar to last year, this winter is expected to bring above average temperature readings and below average snow totals. We are in a La Nina cycle this year, which indicates cool waters in the Equatorial Pacific. While La Nina is an interaction between the Pacific Ocean and the atmosphere, it impacts weather all across the world. For the Southeast United States, La Nina tends to bring warm temperature readings.
La Nina is not the only factor we consider when creating our winter weather forecast. We also take into account climate data, analyze current atmospheric trends, the jet stream and much more.
Average snowfall in a year across East Tennessee
On average, Knoxville receives about 6.5″ of snowfall per year. The Valley overall tends to receive 4″- 8″ of snowfall on average each year.
The Plateau typically receives closer to a foot of snow each year.
Southeast Kentucky and Southwest Virginia also tend to see more snow than the Valley. On average, they receive between 6 and 10 inches of snowfall per year.
Finally, the highest elevations of the Smokies tend to see the most snowfall in our area. Typically, peaks above 3,000 feet see between 40 and 80 inches of snowfall each year.
How much snow can we expect this year?
As previously mentioned, this year we are likely going to see less than average snowfall and likely more freezing rain/sleet events. Freezing rain can be exceptionally dangerous as it causes icy roadways and bridges and can bring down trees and power lines.
Here is a look at our winter 2020-2021 snowfall forecast. Every area is forecast to see less than average snowfall.
Finally, this year we have created a forecast for the holidays. These numbers are just meant to give you an idea of what we may encounter for Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day.