Hurricane Sandy is already having a significant impact on eastern national parks. Snow accumulations of 2 to 3 feet are expected in the mountains of West Virginia, from 1 to 2 feet in the mountains of southwestern Virginia, and 12 to 18 inches in the mountains near the North Carolina/Tennessee border and in the mountains of western Maryland.
Shenandoah National Park is scheduled to completely shut down at noon today.
As of 7:00 am this morning, the Mt. LeConte Lodge has already recorded 6.5 inches of snow on the ground. On their blog, the lodge is reporting that snow was still coming down pretty hard at the time of their last posting.
Here are a few closings as of this morning:
• Newfound Gap Road (US-441) and Cataloochee Entrance Road in the Great Smoky Mountains are closed due to snow and ice.
• Blue Ridge Parkway from US-441 near Cherokee, NC to US-276 is closed due to snow and ice
• In preparation for Hurricane Sandy, Shenandoah National Park's north (mile 0-31.5) and south (mile 65-105) districts, including concessions facilities, campgrounds, picnic areas, and visitor center, were closed at dusk on Sunday. Skyline Drive gates into both districts have also been closed. The Central District (mile 31.5-65), including all concessions facilities (Skyland Resort, Big Meadows Lodge and Wayside, and Lewis Mountain Cabins), park facilities, and the Skyline Drive, will close today at noon. All visitors and park and concessions employees will be required to leave the mountain by noon. On Sunday, park staff swept trailhead parking lots and the backcountry to warn hikers and backpackers about the approaching storm and park closures. The entire park will remain closed until Hurricane Sandy has moved away from the northern Virginia area.
• A High Wind Warning is in effect today through 8:00 am EDT Tuesday, for the Northeast Georgia Mountains. Areas in this advisory include all recreation areas within the counties of Union, Towns, Lumpkin, and White, especially for elevations above 1500 feet. Expect winds of 15-25 MPH with gusts up to 50 MPH. Exercise caution as winds could down trees and power lines and make driving difficult.
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