Monday, January 10, 2011

Snow shuts down the Smokies!

Snow continues to pile up in the Great Smoky Mountains - with up to an additional foot on the way. More than two feet of snow is already on the ground atop Mt. LeConte. In addition to every road being closed right now, the park has issued this statement on its website:

Due to a winter storm, park facilities, including visitor centers, will be closed until 12:00 p.m. on Monday, January 10.

The National Weather Service is calling for more snow for the region for today and tonight, which will likely keep most roads in the park closed through at least Tuesday. Here's the latest forecast:

THE WINTER STORM WARNING IS NOW IN EFFECT UNTIL 7 AM EST TUESDAY.

* TIMING: A STEADY SNOW WILL CONTINUE THROUGH TONIGHT...AND MAY MIX WITH SLEET THIS AFTERNOON. BY TONIGHT...THIS PRECIPITATION MAY ALSO MIX WITH FREEZING RAIN.

* ACCUMULATIONS: TOTAL SNOW ACCUMULATIONS OF 8 TO 12 INCHES WILL BE POSSIBLE BY TONIGHT...WITH LOCALLY HIGHER AMOUNTS ACROSS THE HIGHEST ELEVATIONS. IN ADDITION...LIGHT ICE ACCUMULATIONS AROUND A TENTH OF AN INCH WILL BE POSSIBLE TONIGHT.

The timing of these storms is likely having a large negative impact on Wilderness Wildlife Week, which began this past Saturday. Obviously most of the hikes have been cancelled as a result of all the road closings.


Simply Beautiful:

Yes the fall colors and the wildflowers of the Smokies are beautiful, but snow turns the mountains into an enchanted wonderland. Check out this short video taken by the winter caretaker of the LeConte Lodge:



You can also check out some of the amazing winter scenes that have been recently posted on the High on LeConte website by clicking here.

Here are the current road closures:

• Newfound Gap Road (US-441)
• Little River Road
• Laurel Creek Road (the access road to Cades Cove)
• Cades Cove Loop Road
• Gatlinburg Bypass
• Foothills Parkway West
• Foothills Parkway East
• Old NC-284 between Big Creek and Cataloochee
• Cataloochee Entrance Road
• Cherokee Orchard Road
• Greenbrier Road
• Lakeview Road
• Toms Branch Road
• Wear Cove Road
• Tremont Road
• Cosby Campground Entrance Road

To stay up-to-date on weather forecasts and conditions in the Smokies, click here.

For the latest road reports, click here or call the park office at (865) 436-1200.




Jeff
HikingintheSmokys.com

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