Great Smoky Mountains Natl. Park — Officials with the Great Smoky Mountains National Park have started closing multiple roads in the park to prepare for expected high winds on Wednesday.
The National Weather Services has issued a High Wind Warning for the area from 6 a.m. Wednesday until 6 a.m. Thursday. Officials are anticipating sustained winds between 40 to 50 mph with gusts up to 90 mph in the mountains.
The following roads reopened on Thursday:
- Cades Cove Loop Road
- Cherokee Orchard Road
- Little River Road from Elkmont Junction to the Townsend Wye
- Laurel Creek Road
- Newfound Gap Road
The following roads are already closed:
- Foothills Parkway West (from Chilhowee Lake to Wears Valley),
- Foothills Parkway East
- Wears Cove Gap Road
These roads could close earlier than expected and additional roads may close as well.
All road closures will remain in effect until the High Wind Warning has expired. At that time, crews will assess the damage and begin clearing roads as needed for opening.
Hikers are advised to avoid hiking during this time, especially in areas with standing dead trees.
Park visitor centers, campgrounds and picnic areas currently remain open. However, visitors should use extreme caution when making travel plans in this area since the risk of fire danger is increased with dry conditions and damaging winds.