We have 3 distinct topographic regions in East Tennessee: the Cumberland Plateau to the west, the Smoky Mountains to the east and Great Tennessee Valley in between.
The Cumberland Plateau is a formidable mountain range with one of the main cities, Crossville, at an elevation of about 1,900 feet. The Plateau is usually the first part of East Tennessee to receive winter weather when it moves in from the west, and Crossville averages about 11.5 inches of snow a year.
Meanwhile, Knoxville is located in the Valley and has an elevation of about 981 feet. When weather systems come off the Plateau, the air tends to sink and dry, not to mention that being in a lower elevation, the Valley tends to have slightly warmer temperatures. For this reason, Knoxville averages about 6.5 inches of snow a year.
RELATED: Words to know for the winter season
RELATED: Types of winter precipitation
Then we have the Smoky Mountains with the highest peaks rising to over 6,000 feet. With winds pushing up the mountain slopes and colder temperatures due to higher elevations, locations like Clingmans Dome and Mt. LeConte average over 80 inches of snow a year. That's almost 7 feet!
Together, these 3 topographic regions form a "horseshoe" shape of locations that typically receive more snow during the winter season.