Does It Snow In Knoxville, TN? All About Knoxville Climate

Yes, it does snow in Knoxville, Tennessee. While Knoxville has a generally mild climate, it still experiences occasional snowfall during the winter months. On average, Knoxville receives approximately 10 inches of snowfall per year. 

However, it is important to note that the frequency and amount of snowfall can vary yearly. Some winters may see more snow accumulation, while others may have less. The variability is influenced by factors such as weather patterns and atmospheric conditions.

Knoxville, Tennessee, located in the eastern part of the state, is known for its mild and moderate climate. However, when it comes to snowfall, residents and visitors often wonder whether Knoxville receives enough snow to create a winter wonderland. 

In this article, we will explore the snowfall patterns in Knoxville, TN, and discover whether this region experiences enough snowfall to create snowy landscapes and engage in winter activities.

Location Overview of Knoxville

Knoxville is a city located in the eastern part of Tennessee, nestled in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains. It is the third-largest city in the state, with a population of over 180,000 residents. Knoxville serves as the county seat of Knox County and is a vibrant hub of culture, education, and outdoor recreation.

Geographically, Knoxville is situated along the Tennessee River, providing scenic views and opportunities for water-related activities. The city is approximately 180 miles east of Nashville, the capital of Tennessee, and about 100 miles south of the Kentucky border. 

Its central location within the state’s eastern region makes it easily accessible to other major cities in the area. The city offers a diverse range of attractions and activities for residents and visitors alike. Its vibrant downtown area features a variety of restaurants, shops, and entertainment venues. 

Knoxville, Tennessee, is a lively city with a rich history, scenic landscapes, and a welcoming community. Its location near the Great Smoky Mountains and the Tennessee River makes it an ideal destination for those seeking a blend of outdoor adventures, cultural experiences, and southern hospitality.

Geography and Climate of Knoxville

The geographical location of Knoxville has an influence on snowfall patterns in the region. While Knoxville has a generally mild climate, its proximity to the mountains allows it to experience some of the winter weather associated with higher elevations.

Knoxville receives occasional snowfall during the winter months, with an average of about 10 inches per year. However, snowfall in Knoxville is not as frequent or heavy as in more northern regions. The variability of snowfall from year to year is influenced by factors such as prevailing weather patterns and atmospheric conditions.

Knoxville’s climate is characterized by hot and humid summers, with average temperatures ranging from the 80s to low 90s Fahrenheit. Winters are mild, with average temperatures in the 40s to 50s Fahrenheit. While snowfall is not as common as in more northern regions, Knoxville does experience occasional snow events during winter.

Historical Snowfall Record of Knoxville

Here are some specific dates of notable snowfall events in Knoxville, Tennessee, based on historical records:

  • January 21-23, 1985

A major winter storm brought significant snowfall to the region, with accumulations ranging from 8 to 12 inches in Knoxville.

  • March 12, 1993

Known as the “Superstorm of 1993” or the “Storm of the Century,” this powerful weather system impacted Knoxville and brought heavy snowfall. The city received approximately 10 inches of snow.

  • February 16-17, 2003

Another winter storm affected Knoxville, resulting in around 7 inches of snow accumulation.

  • January 20-21, 2016

A winter storm swept through the area, bringing around 3 to 5 inches of snowfall in Knoxville.

The historical snowfall data for Knoxville indicates that the highest annual snowfall on record occurred in the winter of 2010-2011, with a total accumulation of 57.2 inches. This was an exceptional winter with significantly above-average snowfall. 

On the other hand, some years may see very little to no snow accumulation. It’s important to note that these records are subject to variations and can change over time as new data is collected and analyzed. 

Winter Season & Snowfall Pattern of Knoxville

Despite its generally mild climate, Knoxville does receive a fair amount of snowfall during the winter months. The city’s location in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains allows it to experience some of the winter weather patterns associated with higher elevations. 

On average, Knoxville receives approximately 10 inches of snowfall per year. The snowfall is typically spread out across several days or weeks rather than continuous snow cover for an extended period. Snowstorms are infrequent in Knoxville, with most snow events producing light to moderate amounts of snowfall.

Some winters may witness above-average snowfall, while others might see less snow accumulation. The variability is due to several factors, including the prevailing weather patterns, atmospheric conditions, and the influence of weather systems moving through the region.

Locations to Enjoy Snow in Knoxville

While Knoxville, Tennessee, doesn’t typically experience heavy snowfall compared to some other regions, there are still opportunities to enjoy snow-related activities in and around the area. Here are some nearby locations where you can embrace the snow in Knoxville:

Located approximately 40 miles southeast of Knoxville, Ober Gatlinburg is a popular destination for winter fun. It is a ski resort and amusement park nestled in the Great Smoky Mountains. Visitors can enjoy skiing, snowboarding, snow tubing, ice skating, and even take a scenic chairlift ride to soak in the snowy landscapes.

  • Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Just a short drive from Knoxville, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park offers stunning winter scenery and opportunities for outdoor activities. Hiking trails transform into snow-covered wonderlands, and visitors can enjoy snowshoeing or cross-country skiing in certain areas of the park.

  • Frozen Head State Park

Situated about an hour northwest of Knoxville, Frozen Head State Park provides a serene winter escape. With its picturesque trails, you can embark on winter hikes, snowshoeing, or simply enjoy the peaceful beauty of the snow-dusted landscapes.

  • Norris Dam State Park

Located approximately 20 miles northwest of Knoxville, Norris Dam State Park offers a scenic winter retreat. The park features trails suitable for winter hiking and beautiful views of the frozen Norris Lake.

Situated about 35 miles southeast of Knoxville, Pigeon Forge offers various winter activities and attractions. Dollywood, a popular theme park, often transforms into a winter wonderland during the holiday season, featuring festive decorations, ice skating, and seasonal shows.

While snowfall in Knoxville may not be as consistent or abundant as in other areas, these nearby locations provide opportunities to enjoy the beauty and activities associated with winter. 

Factors Influencing Snowfall

Several factors influence snowfall in Knoxville, Tennessee. The primary factor is the city’s geographical location in the eastern part of the state and its proximity to the Great Smoky Mountains. This location allows Knoxville to occasionally experience snowfall during the winter months. 

However, due to its relatively mild climate, snowfall in Knoxville is generally less frequent and lighter compared to more northern regions. Other factors that impact snowfall include prevailing weather patterns, atmospheric conditions, and the influence of weather systems passing through the area. 

These factors can result in variations in the amount and frequency of snowfall from year to year, with some winters experiencing more significant snow events while others see minimal snow accumulation.


While Knoxville may not be known for heavy snowfall or a long-lasting winter wonderland, it does experience occasional snow events throughout the winter months. With an average of 10 inches of snow per year, residents and visitors can still enjoy some winter activities when the snowfall occurs. 

The variability of snowfall from year to year adds an element of surprise to the winter season in Knoxville, making it an intriguing place for those who appreciate both mild and occasional snowy climates.