The Great Smoky Mountains website is confirming that the storms that ripped through the western end of the Park last Wednesday contained an EF-3 tornado (the National Weather Service, however, is stating that the tornado produced an EF-4, with maximum wind speeds ranging from 165 to 170 miles per hour. The path of the tornado began near Chilhowee Lake and moved northeast into the western portion of the National Park, and was on the ground for 20 miles. The maximum path width was one mile).
As more assessments of the extensive damage are being conducted, the Park has moved to close several more trails on the west end of Cades Cove. The trails will be closed until futher notice. Here's the current list of closures:
• Abrams Falls Trail
• Ace Gap Trail
• Beard Cane Trail
• Hannah Mountain Trail is closed from Rabbit Creek Trail junction to Abrams Falls/Little Bottoms Trails junction.
• Hatcher Mountain Trail
• Little Bottoms Trail is closed from Campsite 17 to Abrams Falls/Hannah Mountain Trails junction
• Rabbit Creek Trail is closed from Abrams Creek Campground to Hannah Mountain Trail junction
• All trails leaving from the Abrams Falls trailhead and Abrams Creek Ranger Station are closed to horse riding due to downed trees.
If you haven't seen this yet, here's a NPS photo of the damage on the Beard Cane Trail: