A Flash Flood Watch has been issued for our area 8:00 AM Tuesday until 2:00 PM Wednesday. Several inches of rain are expected in the mountains that could cause creeks to swell. Use caution at all unbridged creek crossings.
A Wind Advisory has been issued for our area 2:00 PM Tuesday until 8:00 AM Wednesday. The strongest winds are slated for tomorrow evening, with sustained speeds of 25mph and gusts of 60mph during the storm’s peak.
Rain showers and light winds will appear in the region as early as this evening and last into Thursday morning. Temps will likely be in the 50s at the lodge for the duration.
All park roads and trails accessing Mt. LeConte remain open at this time. Please make note of any new and unusual hazards or obstructions along one’s route so that they can be reported to the NPS for prompt resolution after the storm passes.
Well August is about to go out with a roar, but not before we get to enjoy one more sunny day in the mountains. Some morning cap clouds have given way to clearer skies to kickstart the day. Temps are in the upper 50s and we should have no problem leaping into the lower 70s today with such radiance from above. The air will be calm and humid once again, so drink plenty of water to keep the body cool and fueled.
Hurricane Ida made landfall yesterday as an incredibly powerful storm and is now churning our direction. Outer rain bands should start reaching the Smokies late this evening, with the full force of the storm being felt in our neck of the woods on Tuesday and into Wednesday. The current forecast for our region shows Ida unloading 2-4” of rain, with the potential for flash flooding and locally heavier amounts. The TN side of the park is also staring down 60mph wind gusts on Tuesday, with the potential for tornadic spin-offs across the South courtesy of the storm’s rotation. Temps will also be cooling down significantly as the storm passes through, as highs on the mountain are unlikely to escape the 50s.
Given the forecast, it is possible that the NPS initiates temporary road closures during the storm, which could include US 441 (Newfound Gap Rd) because of its length and elevation range. Guests with reservations need to plan accordingly if a trail like Alum Cave is not accessible on Tuesday and/or Wednesday. During significant rain events, Rainbow Falls is inadvisable due to the hazardous unbridged crossing of LeConte Creek above the falls. Bull Head is also inadvisable if there are intense winds and lightning potential since that trail is canopy-less for several miles. As long as Roaring Fork remains open, visitors would be encouraged to take Trillium Gap Trail, as its wet crossings are less hazardous and the trail would be mostly sheltered from the brunt of the southwest emanating storm. Have a detailed trip itinerary, share it with others, hike in groups, and dress appropriately for spending time on trail in less than ideal conditions. And with these scattered rain bands, remain vigilant during your trek as it could be sunny one hour, then windy and wet the next.
We will continue to provide updates in advance of the coming tropical storm. Our thoughts are certainly with those affected down in Louisiana. Be safe and have a great day.