The chances of a White Christmas in East Tennessee are slim but not out of the question.

The last time the Knoxville area saw a White Christmas was in 2010, according to meteorologists with the National Weather Service in Morristown. That Christmas Day, NWS recorded 2.5 inches of snowfall around Knoxville.

"It's very rare," said Jeremy Buckles, a meteorologist for NWS. "Five instances of that occurring over 121 years of records. It's a very rare event for Knoxville."

Buckles said the National Centers for Environmental Information defines a White Christmas as an inch or more of snowfall.

The most snowfall on Christmas Day in the Knoxville area came in 1969 with seven inches. Other White Christmases include 1887, 1915, 1976 and 2010.

"2010 was my true, first White Christmas in this area being able to see it," Buckles said. "It was fun, even though most of it came after dark that night. It was still fun and magical to be able to experience."

Buckles said on average, the chances of a White Christmas in the Knoxville area are three to four percent. In the mountains and the plateau, he said that increases to about 10 percent.

As for the chances this year, Buckles said it may be a little early to start predicting snowfall.

"Looking ahead to Christmas this year, it's still too far out to give really a definitive answer, but there are some hints that we could have some cooler air across the eastern United States, so hey, we'll keep an eye on it," Buckles said. "There's always that very, very slim chance that it could happen."

Weather extremes for Christmas Day in Knoxville:

  • Warmest Christmas was in 1982 with a high of 76 degrees
  • Coldest Christmas was in 1983 with a high of 13 degrees and a low of -6
  • Wettest Christmas was in 2015 when we had over 2 inches of rain at TYS
  • Snowiest Christmas was in 1969 when 7 inches of snow fell in Knoxville