If you live in the north, you know just how tough extreme winters can be. From deep layers of snow to frigid winds, northern winters aren’t easy to get through. Perhaps during some of these storms, you’ve wondered how different winters are in the south, such as in Tennessee

Winters in Tennessee are not nearly as harsh as those in the north. Temperatures during the winter average around 50 degrees Fahrenheit during the day to freezing at night. There is also little snow during Tennessee winters, with an average of 5 inches of snow per year. 

In this article, we’ll talk a bit more about what you can expect from a Tennessee winter, as well as how to prepare for one with gear and supplies. To learn more about how to prep, read on!

What Can I Expect From A Tennessee Winter?

Tennessee winters aren’t as harsh as northern winters, but they’re a bit chillier than winters further south. Because Tennessee is in the mid-south, they can still experience cold temperatures and snow, but not as much as colder states. 

Below, we’ll go over the typical winter temperatures and weather patterns in Tennessee. To learn more about what to expect during your next winter trip to the Great Smokies, keep reading. 

Tennessee Winter Temperatures

During the day, Tennessee winter temperatures are pretty manageable. 

On average, daytime winter temperatures reach approximately 50 degrees Fahrenheit. On the other hand, Tennessee’s winter temperatures at night are much colder. In the evenings, temperatures can drop to an average of around 30 degrees Fahrenheit, which is considered freezing.

The daytime temperatures are reasonable to combat if you have to go outside. You also won’t need any extreme winter gear for such warm temperatures. However, at night, the temperatures can make roads dangerous after heavy rain or sleet, as the water will freeze and create black ice. Always be careful driving in the winter in Tennessee, even if you think the roads are clear.

Tennessee Winter Weather Patterns

Though Tennessee is not known for its snow, it’s still possible in the state, especially around Appalachia. 

On average, Tennessee experiences approximately 5 inches of snow, though each year is different. Because the weather is so warm, it’s not uncommon for it to snow less than an inch and then have the snow melted by the afternoon thanks to the sun. 

It’s also important to note that even though it doesn’t snow much in Tennessee, it does rain a lot with an average of 52 inches of rain per year. This is mostly due to its location in the southern US, where lots of humidity from surrounding bodies of water gets swept up and over the terrain. Its elevation due to the Appalachian mountains contributes to this as well. 

Though this may not sound too bad, the high amount of rain combined with nightly freezing temperatures can create lots of black ice throughout Tennessee. This means driving can still be pretty dangerous in the winter after it rains. Always follow the speed limit and slow down when you’re in doubt about ice on the road. 

How Do I Prep For a Tennessee Winter?

Though Tennessee weather conditions are pretty mild compared to other places, you’ll still want to prepare somewhat for the colder months ahead. Below, we’ll go over the basic winter gear and additional winter supplies to help keep you warm and toasty all winter long, Tennessee style. 

Winter Gear

The winter gear you purchase for winters in Tennessee will be pretty different than the gear you’d get in New York or Minnesota. While in colder states you’d invest in some snow pants and snow boots, these typically aren’t necessary for Tennessee.

Traditional winter gear you should plan on getting for winter in Tennessee include:

  • A coat
  • A jacket
  • Gloves or mittens
  • Hats
  • Long sleeve shirts
  • Long pants
  • Waterproof shoes or boots

Both a coat and a jacket are great since some days it will be warmer than others. You also don’t necessarily need full snow boots since snow is light in Tennessee, but you should still have a pair of waterproof shoes or boots in the event you do need to walk through some snow. Finally, top it off with a hat and some gloves to protect your fingers and ears, especially after sundown!

Additional Winter Supplies

Additional winter supplies should be considered for winter in Tennessee.

Some things you should bring include:

  • Snow shovel
  • Rock salt
  • Emergency food
  • A generator

In the event you get snowed in, you’ll want to make sure you have some emergency food stored in the house and a snow shovel to get through your driveway. Rock salt can help melt snow on your sidewalk too. 

Finally, if you have the finances, you may want to invest in a generator. Because snow is so uncommon, not all power lines are protected against cold weather the same way northern ones are. Power outages are fairly common, so you may want to invest in a generator to keep you warm in the event this happens. 


Before you rush south for a Tennessee winter, keep in mind that the winters aren’t always sunny and dry. While the conditions are certainly less harsh than in northern states, Tennessee can still experience cold weather such as snow and sleet, and cold evening temperatures can still lead to black ice after a rainstorm. 

If you plan on going to Tennessee this winter, make sure you take a coat and some gloves with you to keep warm. It’s always better to overdress than to underdress and risk frostbite or a cold! If you happen to experience colder than average temperatures on your trip, your body will thank you for the warmth later.