Chief Meteorologist David Aldrich's Winter Weather Outlook

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- What kind of winter are we going to have?

It's a question that comes up every year, usually around Labor Day and beyond.

There are plenty of winter guides available that compete for your attention this time of year. These guides include the Woolly Worm, the Persimmon seeds, the Old Farmers’ Almanac, the Farmer’s Almanac and even the Groundhog.

But from a meteorology standpoint, it helps to know where we've been before you know where you are going.

Last year, during the Winter of 2016-2017, Knoxville had a very "wimpy" winter with only 2.3 inches of snow, which fell on the 6th and 7th of January. The normal amount of snow for Knoxville is 6.5 inches.

So, what did Chief Meteorologist David Aldrich predict for this year's winter?

Winter comes EARLY this year…which means a heavier coat, ear muffs and gloves will be needed soon.

According to the National Weather Service in Morristown, the first measurable snowfall typically occurs on the 27th of December. And the first inch of snow usually falls by the 8th of January, which is Elvis' birthday.

David said he expects our first snow in Knoxville to occur before the end of this month…but NOT necessarily on Thanksgiving Day.

Much colder air should move in by Thanksgiving Day, with lows in the 30s and highs in the 40s.

Typically, in any given year, there is a 5 to 10 percent chance for a White Christmas. With cold air settling in during the month of December, it would not surprise if our chance for snowflakes around Christmas was slightly above average.

For weeks now, colder air and above average snowfall has already taken over Canada and Siberia. Based on maps issued by the Rutgers Snow Lab, October snowfall in Canada is running 10 to 50 percent above normal for this time of year. It is this cold air, modified as it may be, that East Tennessee should tap into before and during December.

The biggest driving force to this winter will likely be the weak La Nina, the cooler than normal water temperatures off the coast of South America. This drop in sea surface temperatures also influences and impacts our winds in North America. Yes, occasional outbreaks of arctic air can be quickly replaced by warming spells. That’s why David she he calls this a “Tug of War” winter.

And because of the weak La Nina, David said to expect a “wet winter,” yielding above normal precipitation that includes rain, mixing and melted snow.