Great Smoky Mountains National Park officials announced the temporary closure of all park roads on Wednesday, March 1 at 12:30pm due to a predicted high wind storm. A fast-moving, intense storm is predicted to move across the park area this afternoon bringing heavy winds, rain, lightning, and hail.
Park crews will work to keep the Gatlinburg Bypass and the Spur corridor between Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge open throughout the storm event as feasible. At this time, Sugarlands Visitor Center and Oconaluftee Visitor Center will remain open, but the Cable Mill Visitor Center area in Cades Cove will be closed.
“The safety of our park employees and visitors is our highest priority,” said Facility Management Chief Alan Sumeriski. “We have staged equipment and crews to respond as safely and quickly as possible to open roads and respond to emergencies.”
Currently the park is experiencing sustained winds at the higher elevations of 20 mph with gusts of 50 mph. The incoming storm is predicted to bring winds with gusts up to 80 mph. Park rangers are currently closing roads and notifying campers.
Park facilities will be reopened as conditions permit. For more the most up to date information on road and trail closures, please follow SmokiesRoads on Twitter.