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Great Smoky Mountains National Park closes several roads to prepare for Hurricane Zeta

Officials said they are expecting high winds and heavy rainfall associated with the storm, which can cause hazardous conditions.

Officials with the Great Smoky Mountains National Park said they are closing several secondary roads in preparation for high winds and heavy rains associated with Hurricane Zeta Wednesday night.

They said that the following roads would be closed overnight: Balsam Mountain Road, Cherokee Orchard Road, Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail, Greenbrier Entrance Road, Wear Cove Gap Road, Foothills Parkway from Walland to Wears Valley, Hwy 284 from Big Creek to Cataloochee and Little River Road from Elkmont to Townsend.

They said that the high winds and the heavy rains created the potential for hazardous conditions. Trees could fall, roads could fall and there could be rockslides, officials said.

Closures will remain in effect until a High Wind Warning issued by the National Weather Service expires, officials said. They said that they anticipate winds of 30 mph with gusts up to 60 mph, as well as 3 - 6 inches of rain through Thursday.

Once the warning expires, crews will assess the damage and begin clearing roads as needed for reopening, according to a release from officials. Hikers are advised to avoid hiking during this time, but visitor centers, campgrounds and picnic areas will remain open.