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BlueShoe Nashville Travel Guide

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Nashville Weather & Climate

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Current Weather in Nashville


Hot Enough for Gators?

gator imagePalm trees and alligators are certainly not native to Nashville, but there was a time when gators did live downtown. The reptiles stayed in concrete pools constructed at track level at the Union Station train depot. One pool was situated for the viewing pleasure of passengers in trains going south; the other, for trains going north. The gators were brought by the superintendent of the Nashville Division of the L & N Railroads, Major James Geddes on his return vacations trips from Florida. The tropical transplants survived the winters in Nashville by staying indoors: at the first nippy weather, the gators were hauled inside Union Station to a tank of warm water in the boiler room.

It was a good thing, because according to the USDA standards for hardiness zones, Nashville is located in Zone 6. That means that lowest temperatures for the area each winter average somewhere between minus ten degrees Fahrenheit and 0 degrees Fahrenheit.That would be hard going for cold-blooded creatures such as alligators.

Located at about 36 degrees north latitude--roughly halfway between the Great Lakes and Mexico--Nashville has a pleasantly moderate climate with four distinct seasons. Temperatures aren't excessive either way over prolonged periods of time.

There's a long growing season with ample rain (annual average is around 47 inches) to keep the city lushly green. Yet, there are still plenty of clear, sun-filled days(102 clear days on the average and 106 that are partly cloudy). Snowfall is a scenic passing novelty celebrated by Nashvillians by runs on the supermarkets much as if the city were under seige. Most of the trees lose their leaves in the fall, but there are a lot of evergreens (particularly giant magnolias) that lend color to the gray cityscape in the winter.

The season that perhaps provokes the most complaints is the summer. This is because Nashville's climate is far from dehydrated. The humidity can ratch up the heat index in summer to levels of sogginess you do not want to experience without the benefit of your best antiperspirant. Yes, it is hot and it is humid here much of the summer, but, hey, that's pretty much true of the entire southeast. To be fair, Nashville's Junes, Julys, and Augusts can be graced with some absolutely perfect summer days: mid-seventies for highs and humidity that dips low. Breezes blow that seem to have a marine quality about them. You could almost imagine Monterey with a beach and a seabreeze . . . It makes you want to take a blanket out to the Steeplechase at night and watch the Perseid meteor showers with a friend.

So, when is the best time in Nashville, weatherwise? There are great days every month of the year, but if the BlueShoe editor had to pick one month, she would vote for the month of October. Summer's lost its humid edge, but the days still glow with sunshine and the nights with fireflies. The air can be crisp, even bracing. The sky a brilliant blue. And, of course, all those wonderfully garish oranges and reds begin to blush out on the trees. If you like taking walks, eating outdoors at sidewalk cafes, or just sitting in the sun without boiling, October is the month not to miss in Nashville. It's a keeper.

by Cheryl Hiers

Nashville Climate Charts

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