Let me start out by saying I do really LOVE Tennessee. However, I am not much of a cold weather fan. When Hubby & I made the huge decision to leave Central California and move, we looked very carefully at all the places we were considering & one of the reasons we chose the exact location we did in Tennessee was because it's average winter highs and lows were almost identical to the average winter highs & lows of the city we were leaving.
I lived in the California Central Valley for 30 yrs. We got actual snow ONCE in those 30 yrs. I can count on one hand the number of times we got snow flurries. The week after Christmas in 1990, the temperatures were in the teens all week & our pipes froze, but it had never happened before.
The website we consulted told us that the average winter low in our California town was 38 and the average winter low for our new Tennessee town was 36....only a two degree difference. The average high for both was 46. Sounds like a good match on the computer screen, but now that we are starting our 4th year here I see that looking at averages can be a very flawed way to determine what the ACTUAL weather is like.
Our California winters were cold, rainy, grey & foggy. The cold was a damp wet cold that soaks into your bones & makes you feel like you will never be warm again. It would rain for weeks at a time & everything would be covered in mud starting in October or November. Some years you wouldn't see the sun for a month or more. When it wasn't grey & raining it was so foggy you could barely see the front of your own car while driving. We didn't have snow or ice delays, we had FOG delays and even a few FOG days in particularly bad years. I remember one Christmas that the temperature was in the upper 60's & we took pictures of ourselves opening presents at the park in shorts to taunt our New Jersey relatives....but usually it got cold & wet and then stayed that way until mid March.
Tennessee winters are FROZEN....it is a dry cold & doesn't sink into your bones in the same way as the dampness, but it is soooo much colder. We frequently have ice on our car that won't let us open the doors in the mornings, the roads are icy & snow flurries are so frequent they are no longer even worth mentioning. We have to leave the water dripping in our bathrooms to prevent the pipes from freezing & the pipes outside the house are all wrapped in thick foam stuff to keep them insulated against the cold. The most actual snow fall we've had was about 2 inches the first year we were here, but it is early in the season this year & a BIG snow has been predicted before the season is over. Every year we've been here we've had at least a week when the HIGH temperature didn't get out of the mid teens. Night time temps frequently dip below 10. But every year we've also had a week or two in January or February when the temperatures suddenly jump into the mid 70's and the night time temps are in the 50's or even 60's....those dramatic swings must skew the average. Spring is not predictable here either. Some weeks will be nice and warm with temps in the 50's & 60's but just when you think it's ok to pack up the winter coats & gloves it will suddenly drop back into the 30's or even 20's for a week or more just to keep you on your toes.
I don't miss damp, grey, foggy winters, but I do wish it wasn't quite soooo cold here. Thinking about it, weather is one of those things I seem to rant about the most. Be warned when summer gets here I'm sure to rant about the horrid humidity.