High Wind Warning Closes GSMNP
Yesterday the park service closed the Great Smoky Mountain National Park due to a high wind warning. The National Weather Service issued a high wind warning in the early hours of Thursday May 5, 2017. As a front moved through the area winds f 35-55 mph were expected with possible gust up of more than 80mph. Due to the risk of downed trees, tree branches and power lines the park service closed the national park. Driving would be dangerous during these conditions not to mention the heavy rain and low visibility.
The storm that brought the high winds was no joke. The East Tennessee area did get wind gust of over 80mph. After the storm there were reports of power outages, structural damage, downed trees, downed power lines and property damage. Some of the places that had damage were Rocky Top Sports World, Camp LeCont, Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts, and Zoders Inn and Suites. Many other businesses and well as homeowners received damage due to the excessive wind.
There was also a brush fire in the Gatlinburg-Pittman Center area. It spread to about 100 acres and it is still smoldering at hotspots but it is 100% contained as reported by firefighters and officials
battling the fire. The cause of the brush fire is under investigation.
Red cross shelters were set up for those that needed shelter due to power outages or wind damage. More than 13,000 customers were still without power Friday morning. Some of those affected by the fires last December that were in the process of rebuilding did suffer a setback. The last checks just went out to those that received help from the fund set up by Dolly Parton. They got quite the surprise when the last $1000 check was actually a $5000 check!
Update on 5/6/2017:
The storm that brought high winds to the area resulted in a lot of downed trees, trees limbs and other debris. Crews are hard at work clearing the roads. But now with the cold temperatures the higher elevations are covered with snow! Mount LeConte Lodge has had over 6″ of snow today! For up to date roads openings and closing you can alway go to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park Twitter Page.