Station Location: WFO Morristown is located about halfway between Knoxville and the Tri-Cities area in Hamblen County of northeast Tennessee.
The Basics: The Morristown NWS office (KMRX) is a fully-staff Weather Forecast Office (WFO) with the responsibility for a complete spectrum of forecasts and warnings for a 40 county area-- County Warning Area (CWA), including 33 counties in east Tennessee, 5 counties in southwest Virginia, and 2 counties in extreme southwest North Carolina. We also compose aviation forecasts for three sites: Chattanooga, Knoxville and Tri-Cities. We have an active hydrology program that focuses on flooding and river levels. We broadcast weather information 24/7 via NOAA radio transmitters located near Chattanooga, Knoxville, Tri-Cities, and LaFollette. We have direct access to two Doppler radars, one located on-site and the other located in northeast Alabama, and we have indirect access to about a dozen others.
Community Description: The city of Morristown has a population of around 25,000 people and sits in the broad valley between the Smoky Mountains and the Cumberland Plateau. Even though the area is in the valley, the elevation (about 1300-1400 feet MSL) is high enough to keep summer temperatures below 90 degrees on most days. From Morristown it's roughly 45 minutes to Knoxville, and about an hour to the Tri-Cities (Kingsport, Johnson City, and Bristol), and a little over two hours to Chattanooga. It's also about 30-60 minutes to the entertainment, shopping, and outdoors activites found in Sevierville, Pigeon Forge, Gatlinburg, and the Great Smoky Mountains. No matter what part of the area you are in presently, you are always within an half hour of a scenic ridgeline or a beautiful lake. For outdoors enthusiasts, there is fishing, hiking, biking, camping, and golf available year-round and skiing/snowboarding in the winter.
Weather-wise, we like to say we get a taste of everything--severe storms, but not as much as middle and west Tennessee; it snows every winter here (lots in the mountains), but it usually melts pretty quickly in the valley. Spring fully blooms here and the fall colors are second to none during football season (football's pretty big around here).
Capitalizing on the beauty of the area the following National Parks and National Forests are either fully or partly in our area...
Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area
Obed National Wild and Scenic River
Andrew Johnson National Historic Site
Cumberland Gap National Historic Site
Appalachian National Scenic Trail
Trail of Tears National Historic Trail
Cherokee National Forest in Tennessee
Jefferson National Forest in Virginia
Nantahala National Forest
There are also nine state forests and 22 state parks in our area--including picturesque Panther Creek State Park that is located less than 10 minutes from our office. We have a great view of the Smokies from our office and can easily see the highest peaks of Mt. LeConte and Clingman's Dome (highest point in Tennessee--6643 ft.)
Of course, there are numerous cultural opportunities within the cities as well as on any of the countless universities and community colleges. Morristown has two accomplished theatre guilds offering a combined ten or more productions each year.
Temporary and Permanent Living Accommodations: There are a number of good motels in the Morristown area and an extended stay executive facility. Reservations are a must, as there is a large number of business travelers in the area. Permanent housing is plentiful, wtih 1/2 acre lots being the rule rather than the exception. Due to the hilly terrain, most homes in the area have basements.
Air Transportation: Flights are generally from Knoxville (about 20 non-stop destinations) or Tri-Cities (about seven non-stop destinations). Access to both of these airports is approximately one hour from the office. There are several car rental agencies in town.
Restaurants: There are a number of restaurants within five miles of the office and with the growing economy, more are opening regularly. Prices for meals vary greatly depending on cuisine; however, most are very reasonable. Knoxville offers a wide variety of cuisines.
Taxes: The tax rate in Tennessee is one of the lowest in the nation. There is no state income tax and the property tax in Hamblen County is approximately $650 on a $100,000 house. There is no personal property tax. The largest tax burden is a sales tax of 9.75% which is levied against all purchases, including food and clothing.
Education: The Primary and Secondary schools in both Hamblen and Jefferson counties are very good and both rank well above the state average on standardized tests. Walters State Community College and Carson Newman College, are each located about 10 miles from the office, and The University of Tennessee is located in Knoxville, approximately a 40 minute drive time from the office. East Tennessee State University is one hour northeast in Johnson City, and Tusculum College (est. 1794) is located in Greeneville, 40 minutes from Morristown. Of course, there are numerous cultural opportunities within the cities as well as on any of these universities and community colleges.
Child Care Facilities: There are numerous day care and after school care facilities.
Economy: The local economy in the east Tennessee region is steadily growing. A large number of industries are moving into the local area, including automotive parts manufacturing facilities. Jefferson County had one of the highest growth rates in the state over the past five years. The Morristown Chamber of Commerce is very aggressive in attracting industry to the area. Many people are choosing this area to retire due to the favorable climate and cost of living.
Climate: The climate is very mild, considering the location in the south. Based on the 1971-2000 normals, the average maximum temperature for Morristown is 67.5 degrees with the average low being 45.7. The absolute maximum is 103 with the absolute minimum being -2. Average rainfall is 45.99 inches which is spread fairly uniformly throughout the year. Average snowfall is 11.9 inches per year.