When talking about the incredible state of Tennessee, many people’s first thought goes to tornadoes. Although the state is not technically part of Tornado Alley, it is a part of Dixie Alley, which refers to the southern states that are highly susceptible to violent tornadoes. If you want to visit or move to Tennessee, you probably want to know: What part of Tennessee has the least tornadoes?
East Tennessee has the least tornadoes annually compared to the rest of the state. In the past year and a half there have been 72 tornadoes in Tennessee, but only 3 were in eastern Tennessee. The higher altitude and colder temperatures are less welcoming to tornados than the flat warm areas in the middle and western part of the state.
If you want to learn a little more about tornadoes in Tennessee, including why eastern Tennessee has so few compared to the rest of the state and when they are most common, keep reading! We have everything you need to know about Tennessee tornadoes right here.
Why Are There So Many Tornadoes in Tennessee?
Before we find out a little more about where you can find the least amount of tornadoes in Tennessee, it is important to understand why the state experiences such a large number of these natural disasters every year.
Tornadoes develop from severe storms when warm, moist, unstable air is alongside and ahead of cold fronts. And this is exactly what happens across the plains of Tennessee.
Cold air from the north affects the warm winds coming from the south off the Gulf of Mexico to create these volatile wind tunnels that can cause immense damage to homes and even cause death.
Because the two winds move quickly across the flat plains with nothing to intercept them, tornadoes are frequent and often extremely destructive.
Throughout the state, Tennessee experiences an average of 30 tornadoes every year.
What Part of Tennessee Has the Least Tornadoes?
Even though Tennessee has dozens of tornadoes every year, east Tennessee encounters far less than the middle or western parts of the state.
Compared to the 30 tornadoes mid and west Tennessee experience every year, east Tennessee has only seen 27 tornadoes in the past 10 years.
That is certainly a large difference in numbers, and there is no doubt that people who live in eastern Tennessee have to worry far less about tornadoes than their neighbors to the west.
You may be wondering: How can the weather change so much in one state as to create such an immense change in weather from one side to the other? Let’s find out.
Why Does East Tennessee Have the Least Tornadoes?
Geography is without a doubt, the most important factor when it comes to predicting and understanding weather patterns.
Here’s what you need to know about Tennessee and specifically eastern Tennessee to understand why tornadoes happen so often in the west and the middle of the state and hardly ever in the east.
East Tennessee is entirely located within the Appalachian Mountains, including the Great Smoky Mountains and the Cumberland Plateau.
These mountains increase elevation throughout the area, which lowers the average temperature, and most importantly, the mountains stop the warm winds from the south from racing across the sky.
As we already learned, essentially, tornadoes are caused when warm and cool winds meet, so the wide open spaces throughout the middle and western parts of Tennessee are essentially tornado playgrounds.
What Time of Year Does East Tennessee Have the Least Tornadoes?
Although they are few and further between than anywhere else in Tennessee, east Tennessee does still typically encounter a few tornadoes every year. The most likely time for these random tornadoes to occur is in the spring, but specifically in April, followed closely by March and May.
The time of the year with the least tornadoes in east Tennessee, the part of the state with already the least tornadoes, is in September or August.
Strangely, outside of springtime, the second most likely time to experience a tornado in east Tennessee is in November, but statistically speaking, you are still less likely to experience a tornado in winter, summer, or fall combined as you are to see or feel one in the spring.
The Bottom Line
So, what part of Tennessee has the least tornadoes? Hopefully, you know the answer now!
Just in case you forgot, east Tennessee is the part of the state with the least tornadoes every year.
Although it does still experience a few, because of the mountain range located in this area, the strong warm winds from the Gulf of Mexico hit mountains before they can coincide with colder wind fronts from the north that create the many tornadoes found throughout the rest of Tennessee.