Monthly weather forecast and climate
Tennessee, USA

Flag of Tennessee, USA
Flag of Tennessee, USA

The climate of Tennessee

Tennessee has a chiefly humid subtropical type of climate (Köppen climate classification Cfa) in the majority of the state and oceanic (Köppen Cfb) in a minor part of the east. Hot summers and cold winters are typical, with a gradual rise in warmth in the southern regions. Tennessee lies in the southeastern region of the United States. North Carolina in the east, Georgia, Alabama, and Mississippi in the south, Arkansas in the west, Missouri in the northwest, Kentucky in the north, and Virginia in the northeast share borders with the state. The proximity to the Gulf of Mexico is the chief factor that dominates the climate.

Tennessee, The Volunteer State, has an average elevation of 270 meters above sea level, with the highest point at Clingmans Dome at 2,025 meters. The eastern portion consists of rugged terrain and the high Blue Ridge Mountains with an average elevation of 1500 meters. The western section consists of an elevated plain, the Highland Rim, with fertile farmlands and abundant wildlife. The Gulf Coastal Plain lies to the west of the Highland Rim and Nashville Basin. Middle Tennessee consists of flat plains along with hills, ridges, caves, and waterfalls.

Summers are hot and humid in Tennessee, with the average daily temperatures above the 90°F (32.2°C) mark at the peak of the season. Nights tend to be mild, with temperatures often crossing 70°F (21.1°C). Winters range from mild to cold, with average low temperatures in the range of 22°F (-5.6°C) to 33°F (0.6°C) during the trough of January. Higher elevations are colder than the plains, but freezing temperatures occur in much of the state. Spring is warm and wet with comfortable temperatures but sees the frequent passage of storms. Autumn is relatively dry, and the conditions are pleasant. Polar air clashes with tropical air masses to bring unexpected weather changes in the cold season.

Tennessee receives generous precipitation that averages over 50" (1270mm) annually. Rainfall is throughout the year, with the wettest period between December and April and the driest between August and October. Mid-summer sees ample rainfall in much of the state, especially in the high mountains. Snowfall is substantially over 80" (2032mm) in the high mountains in the east, while it is hardly more than 5" (127mm) in the west. The growing season ranges from 180 to 220 days, with variations based on topography. The number of days with the sun is between 200 to 220, and the average sunshine is 2600 hours annually.

The record high temperature for Tennessee is 113°F (45°C), set in Perryville on August 9, 1930, while the lowest recorded temperature is -32°F (-35.6°C), set in Mountain City on December 30, 1917.

The best time to visit Tennessee

The best time to visit Tennessee is during the pristine fall season from mid-September to mid-November. The end of the summer sees a drop in temperatures and humidity. The day highs, which touch 80°F (26.7°C) in September, tend to be between 65°F (18.3°C) and 73°F (22.8°C) in October, while the nights are pleasant. The landscape attains beautiful colors by the fourth week of October and retains them for much of November. Budget travelers may see better accommodation deals in winter and spring than the fall season. The conditions are on the colder side by late November, but outdoor activities are possible.

The worst time to visit Tennessee

The worst time to visit Tennessee is during the winter from December to February when the conditions are cold. The temperatures drop below freezing in most areas but rarely go below 0°F (-17.8°C) for extended periods, even in the high lands. Snowstorms are rare in the plains, but the high mountains in the west accumulate a substantial amount of snow. Winter is the period of heavy rainfall and frequent passage of storms. Flights and accommodations are cheaper in the winter compared to the other seasons. The cold season in Tennessee is milder than the other states in the American north and a welcome destination for snowbirds.

Weather hazards

Tennessee is vulnerable to thunderstorms, tornadoes, floods, and hurricanes in spring and summer. Floods occur due to heavy rainfall and melting of snow during spring and summer. Thunderstorms occur for an average of 50 days in the year and occasionally bring damaging winds and large hail. Tornadoes average 15 per year and are more active in the west and middle portions of the state. Tennessee has the largest percentage of total tornadoes that result in fatalities in the union. The direct impact of hurricanes is rare in Tennessee, but remnants of cyclones cause significant rainfall. Snowstorms like the Blizzard of 1993 are fewer than more likely ice storms. The eastern portion of the state is more susceptible to fog than the rest.

Weather in January

January is the coldest month of the year in Tennessee when the temperatures drop in the frigid zone of 22°F (-5.6°C) to 33°F (0.6°C) at night. The average temperatures in Nashville, the capital in middle Tennessee, are between 28°F (-2.2°C) to 47°F (8.3°C), while they are a little milder in Memphis in the west between 33°F (0.6°C) to 50°F (10°C) range. Weather in January »

Weather in February

February is a cold winter month in Tennessee, with partly cloudy skies and ten to twelve days of rain. The average high temperatures are in the mild 49°F (9.4°C) to 55°F (12.8°C) zone, while nights are in the chilly range of 24°F (-4.4°C) to 36°F (2.2°C). Knoxville in the east registers cold temperatures between 32°F (0°C) to 52°F (11.1°C) and receives between 1" (25mm) to 4" (102mm) of snowfall. Weather in February »

Weather in March

March welcomes the beautiful spring season to Tennessee, with a gradual rise in temperatures. The average high temperatures are between a mild 57°F (13.9°C) to 65°F (18.3°C), while the average low temperatures are in the cold 30°F (-1.1°C) to 39°F (3.9°C) range. Weather in March »

Weather in April

April is warm and wet in Tennessee as the spring season comes alive with a splash of colors, singing of birds, and blooming of flowers. The precipitation is up to 5" (127mm) statewide, and snowfall limits only to the high mountain slopes. Weather in April »

Weather in May

May brings rain and shine in Tennessee, with a steady rise in temperatures. The skies are partly cloudy to sunny most of the time, the air is sweet, and the landscape is green. There is no shortage of warmth, with the daily sunshine lasting at least for 8 hours. The average high temperatures are in the warm 74°F (23.3°C) to 81°F (27.2°C) range, while the nights are mild between 47°F (8.3°C) to 57°F (13.9°C). Weather in May »

Weather in June

June begins the hot and humid summer season in Tennessee, with the sun firmly in charge of the conditions. The longest days of the year extend to 15 hours and bring bright sunshine for 9 hours. The average high temperatures are in the warm 80°F (26.7°C) to 88°F (31.1°C) range, while the average low temperatures hover in the mild zone of 55°F (12.8°C) to 65°F (18.3°C). Thunderstorms are active in the summer and bring the majority of the 4" (102mm) to 5" (127mm) of rainfall in the month. Weather in June »

Weather in July

July is generally the hottest month of the year in Tennessee, with temperatures occasionally crossing 100°F (37.8°C) in the interior. The average high temperatures are in the hot zone of 82°F (27.8°C) to 92°F (33.3°C), while the average low temperatures register in the warm range of 59°F (15°C) to 74°F (23.3°C). Weather in July »

Weather in August

August is hot and humid in Tennessee, with the heat index stuck at the high end of the temperature range. Day temperatures are in the hot 82°F (27.8°C) to 91°F (32.8°C) range, while nights are warm between 58°F (14.4°C) to 73°F (22.8°C). Weather in August »

Weather in September

September brings the beautiful fall season to Tennessee with a drop in temperatures and rainfall. Autumn is the driest among all the seasons, and the average temperatures subside in the 51°F (10.6°C) to 85°F (29.4°C) zone. Weather in September »

Weather in October

October is the driest month of the year in Tennessee with 2" (51mm) to 4" (102mm) of rainfall. The fall foliage is at its peak, beginning from the second week of October in the eastern portion of the state. The cacophony of colors offers scenic views at lake shores, mountain slopes, and rural roads. Weather in October »

Weather in November

November sees the end of the fall season in Tennessee amid falling leaves and change of colors. The average high temperatures are between a mild 59°F (15°C) to 63°F (17.2°C), but nights occasionally end below freezing in the 31°F (-0.6°C) to 44°F (6.7°C) range. The first signs of snow are evident in the high mountains of the east. Weather in November »

Weather in December

December is cold in Tennessee, with the average low temperatures in the freezing range of 24°F (-4.4°C) to 35°F (1.7°C). The average high temperatures remain in the mild 48°F (8.9°C) to 52°F (11.1°C) range as winter has the shortest days of the year. Weather in December »


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