Tennessee Annual Temperatures and Extremes


Avg High Temp

Avg Low Temp 

Avg Annual Temp

Avg # days > 90F Avg # days < 32F  Record High Temp Record Low Temp
Bristol - Kingsport 67.1 44.8 55.9 16 96 103 / 2012 -21 / 1985
Chattanooga 71.0 49.5 60.3 50 66 107 / 2012 -10 / 1966
Knoxville 69.3 48.9 59.1 36 68 105 / 2012 -24 / 1985
Memphis 71.9 52.5 62.2 67 54 108 / 1980 -13 / 1963
Nashville 70.0 48.9 59.4 49 74 109 / 2012 -17 / 1985
Oak Ridge 68.9 46.7 57.8 34 85 105 / 2012 -17 / 1985
  • Tennessee annual average temperature - 57.57 degrees, 14th warmest state in the U.S.
  • Record Hottest year in Tennessee - 1921 / Avg temperature 60.97 degrees
  • Record Coldest year in Tennessee - 1917 / Avg temperature 55.48 degrees
  • Tennessee average Summer temperature (June, July, August) 75.6 F degrees, 13th warmest U.S. summer state
  • Tennessee average Winter temperature (December, January, February) 39.1 F degrees, 38th coldest U.S. winter state

Tennessee's Temperature Records

  • Hottest temperature ever recorded: 113 F, Perryville, west-central Tennessee, 8/9/1930
  • Coldest temperature ever recorded: -32 F, Mountain City, northeastern Tennessee, 12/30/1917
  • Hottest location ranked by highest average annual temperature: Memphis, southwestern Tennessee , 62.2 F
  • Coldest location ranked by lowest average annual temperature: Mountain City, northeastern Tennessee, 52.1 F

Most aspects of Tennessee's climate is related to the widely varying topography within its borders. The decrease of temperature with elevation is quite apparent, amounting to, on the average, three degrees Fahrenheit (° F) per 1,000 feet increase in elevation. Thus higher portions of the State, such as the Cumberland Plateau and the mountains of the east, have lower average temperature than the Great Valley of East Tennessee, which they flank, and other lower parts of the State. In the Great Valley temperature increases from north to south, reaching a value at the south end comparable to that of Middle and West Tennessee where elevation variations are a generally minor consideration. Across the State, the average annual temperature varies from over 62° F in the extreme southwest to near 45 degrees atop the highest peaks of the east. It is of interest to note that average January temperature atop a 6,000 foot peak in the Great Smokies is equivalent to that in Central Ohio, while average July temperature is duplicated along the southern edge of the Hudson Bay in Canada. While most of the State can be described as having warm, humid summers and mild winters, this must be qualified to include variations with elevation. Thus with increasing elevation, summers become cooler and more pleasant while winters become colder and more blustery.

This dependence of temperature on elevation is of considerable importance to a variety of interests. Temperature, together with precipitation, plays an important role in determination what plant and animal life are adaptable to the area. In the Great Smoky Mountains, for example, the variations in elevation from 1,000 to 6,000 feet with attendant variations in temperature contribute to a remarkable variety of plant life. The relative coolness of the mountains also contributes to the popularity of that area during the warmer part of the year.

Length of growing season is linked to topography in a way similar to temperature, varying from an average of 237 days at low-lying Memphis to a near 130 days on the highest mountains in the east. Most of the State is included in the range of 180 to 220 days. Shorter growing seasons than this are confined to the mountains forming the State’s eastern border and to the northern part of the Cumberland Plateau. Longer growing seasons are found in counties bordering the Mississippi River, parts of the Central Basin of the Middle Tennessee, and the southern end of the Great Valley of East Tennessee.


Tennessee precipitation averages and extremes, Memphis climate extremes/averages, Top 10 U.S. climate extremes, precipitation data 
for all U.S. states

Data source: National Climatic Data Center