Matt Hinkin’s winter weather forecast 2015-2016

KNOXVILLE (WATE) – From ice and snow to freezing rain parts of East Tennessee had a rough winter during the 2014-2015 season.

The most asked question I get is what’s the winter going to be like this year.

There is really no guarantees, but I’m pretty confident we will have four to nine inches of snow in the Knoxville area. Now, that won’t come all at once, but I expect we’ll see more freezing rain, sleet and wintry mix this year.


The weather is changing quickly. Normally highs are in the 50s and lows are in the 30s for Thanksgiving and Black Friday.


Most people don’t realize that Christmas is officially only three days into the winter season.

Will East Tennessee see a white Christmas? I’m going to have to give a thumbs down, unless you go to Ober Gatlinburg.

There is a seven to eight percent chance of a white Christmas. In fact, the last time Knoxville had a white Christmas was in 2010.

How will El Nino affect East Tennessee’s weather?

I looked at snow totals from five moderate to strong El Nino’s in the past.

1957-1958 4.1″
1965-1966 14.9″
1972-1973 10.9″
1982-1983 5.7″
1997-1998 3.8″

In 1965-1966 and 1962-1973 Knoxville had decent snow falls, but in the other three years there was significantly less snow.

Based on current trends, I think we will have significantly less snow because of El Nino.

Knoxville yearly snowfall (Inches)

Check out historical data for the last 100 years. What do you think the winter weather will look like? Let us know on our Facebook page.

Farmer’s forecast

According to folklore, you can predict the weather with a persimmon seed. If the kernel is spoon-shaped, like a shovel, that means you will be shoveling snow, if it is fork-shaped, you can expect powdery, light snow and if the kernel is knife-shaped, expect to be “cut” by icy, cutting winds.

Roger Radel, a farmer in Sevierville, said this year there are some signs in the seeds there’s going to be snow this year. Radel said this is supported by the woolly worms.

The woolly bear caterpillar, with its 13 distinct segment of black and reddish-brown has the reputation of being able to forecast the coming winter weather. These fuzzy little creatures have a pretty good track record for predicting the winter.

The fuzzier the woolly worm, the more likely there will be a be a bitter cold. A brown/reddish color signals a milder winter and the black fuzz signals a colder winter.

This year, Radel said the woolly worm is darker, which means it is going to be a cold winter.

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