Frequently Asked Questions
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Tennessee is one of only two states in the union that borders a total of eight other states – the other is Missouri. Tennessee borders Kentucky, Virginia, North Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas and Missouri, and the state is divided into three distinct regions: East Tennessee, Middle Tennessee and West Tennessee.
Eastern Tennessee is the home of the Blue Ridge Mountains; these actually share a border with North Carolina and are characterized by relatively high mountain tops; in addition, it is the home of several different mountain ranges including the Smoky Mountains, the Unicoi Mountains, the Iron Mountains and the Chilhowie Mountains. The mountains begin to taper off near the junction of East Tennessee and Middle Tennessee, which is covered by the Cumberland Plateau.
As stated above, Middle Tennessee is mainly the Cumberland Plateau (which actually spans several states). Sharp valleys and flat mountains make their way through this portion of the state, but on the western edge of the Plateau lays the Highland Rim, which is actually a ridge that surrounds what is known as the Nashville Basin. The basin is where many of the state’s urban areas are including Memphis and Nashville.
Western Tennessee is also known as the Gulf Coastal Plain, though most people simply call it Western Tennessee (or West Tennessee if they’re feeling particularly lazy). This is the largest of the three regions and is characterized by a ton of swamps and marshes, which can make travel through the area difficult. Population centers in this area are sporadic as well.
Despite their differences in geography, much of the state enjoys a similar climate. For instance, during the summer, typical highs in Tennessee reach into the low 90’s during the day, while lows overnight can drop down into the low-to-mid 60’s. Humidity plays a bigger factor in the western section of the state, however, and temperatures during the day can get above 100 because of it. During the winter months, however, average highs only reach into the mid 60’s, while lows drop down into the low 30’s or even lower, especially in Eastern Tennessee.
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