The following update was posted on the Great Smoky Mountains Association Facebook page a short while ago:
A motorcycle rider was killed on Little River Road approximately 0.5-mile east of the Townsend Wye:
A 50 years old man was hit on the head by a falling limb. He died at the scene. Passenger on the motorcycle was not injured in the incident. Relationship of the two is unknown.
At a popular swimming hole near the Abrams Creek Campground, off the Cooper Road Trail, a large tree fell on 4 people. A 41 year-old woman was struck by the tree and was dead at the scene.
A 7 year-old girl who was swimming in the creek was hit by the same tree. She was unconscious when pulled from water and given CPR by bystanders.
The father of the 7 year-old girl was struck by same tree and sustained fractures to vertebrae, multiple broken ribs and a collapsed lung.
The mother of girl was also injured by the same tree. Her injuries are less serious. The child and her father were flown to UT and the mother taken by ground to UT in Knoxville, TN. There are no updates on their condition at this time.
Other injuries/medical emergencies:
* A cardiac in the Cades Cove campground last night
* A man was struck by tree at the Methodist Church on the Cades Cove Loop Road. He suffered a back injury.
* A man in Cades Cove was treated for an eye injury when a limb struck the windshield of his vehicle.
* All 3 of these injured individuals were taken by ambulance to Blount Memorial Hospital.
A severe thunderstorm hit the west end of the park about 6 pm yesterday. There were high winds associated with the storm. 100s of trees are down on roads between Metcalf Bottoms and the Abrams Creek areas on the west end of the park.
Damage extends from Metcalf Bottoms to Abrams Creek in Cades Cove.
NPS crews have swept all roads in storm-damaged areas to identify stranded motorists and those in need of medical attention.
* The Cades Cove Campground will remain closed until at least until Sunday evening
* Lookrock Campground is closed
* Little River Road is closed from Elkmont to the Townsend Wye
* Laurel Creek Road
* Foothills Pkwy West
* Cades Cove Loop Road
* Rich Mountain Road
* Parson’s Branch Road
* Weir Gap Road
* Tremont Road
NPS staff will be trying to locate folks who are may be in affected areas of the backcountry. All unoccupied vehicles along Little River Road and Laurel Creek will be checked and their owners accounted for. There are no reports of injured hikers or backpackers at this time
Power remains out at Cades Cove.
Structural damage has not been assessed yet.
Individuals with reservations for the Cades Cove campgrounds should seek other accommodations for the evening.
No new information is expected until later in the afternoon.