Allyson Virden, caretaker for the Mt. LeConte Lodge, is reporting on her blog (with some great photos) this morning that the mountain has received a total of 34 inches of snow - with 3 more expected today. She also reports that there are drifts up to the roof on the dining hall! At Newfound Gap, the National Weather Service is reporting a total of 36 inches of snow as of this morning.
In her post Allyson states that ten more guests showed up after dark yesterday evening. The hikers reported extremely difficult conditions, including a lot of downed trees on the trail which they had to crawl under. It took some of them 10 hours to hike up the Rainbow Falls Trail.
Allyson also warns:
If you have a reservation for this evening, we are asking you to please not hike up. Please call our reservations office and they will take care of you. (865) 429-5704
Currently there are many closings throughout the national park system as a result of Hurricane Sandy. NPS Digest is reporting that as of Tuesday night, "69 parks are closed or partially closed and are working to account for all employees. There are no reports of significant injuries or fatalities."
Here are a few closings for parks in the Smokies region:
• Newfound Gap Road, Clingmans Dome Road, Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail, Cataloochee Entrance Road, Foothill Parkway East, Twin Creeks Road above the science center, and Old NC-284 between Big Creek and Cataloochee in the Great Smoky Mountains are closed due to snow and ice.
• Snow, rain, and extreme wind have forced the closure of most sections of the Blue Ridge Parkway. Until the weather improves and cleanup is completed, travel on the Parkway is not advised.
• Shenandoah National Park remains closed. Yesterday afternoon, rangers reported approximately 12 inches of snow at milepost 35 on Skyline Drive.
• In North Carolina, Mount Mitchell, Grandfather Mountain and Mount Jefferson are closed due to snow; hazardous road conditions exist near most mountain parks.
As the day progresses I will try to update this post with other closings and alerts for parks and national forests in the Smokies region.
For the latest updates on closings in the Great Smoky Mountains, please click here.
For updates on current weather and forecasts for the region, please visit the weather page on HikingintheSmokys.com.
Hiking in the Smokies