Good morning from up high,
Things are especially quiet the morning, the only sound I can decipher would be the howling wind making a name for itself. Looking out my side window, said wind gusts delicately blow small amounts of snow off of the tree limbs, leaving a translucent haze in its path. Layers of fresh white powder cover everything in sight, showing no signs of departure. Conditions have taken a turn for the worse, as temperatures decrease significantly. At the moment, it is just under 14 degrees out there! Jack Frost is here to stay for the weekend, and he is just getting settled in! There is around 3.5 inches on the ground this morning, with snow showers still falling as we speak. Beautiful untouched blankets of snow reside all around the mountain, couldn't ask for anything more! Moderate wind gusts occasionally travel up the North side of the mountain, dropping the already frigid temperature dramatically! It's truly mind-bending how fast weather conditions changed near the summit... We went from seeing temperatures in the mid 40s, to seeing them in the lower teens! Judging by the forecast, the freakish temperatures are thought to remain the entire day, with deadly wind chills diving below -10 degrees at times! Snow is on the radar all day today and the better half of Saturday, accumulation of 4-6 inches is likely. It looks like Highway 441 through the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is currently closed, so Alum Cave and the Boulevard are inaccessible at this time. Oddly enough, the highway is closed due to high water levels, not snow/ice. That tells me that the snow doesn't crawl down the hill as far down as I thought. If I had to make an educated guess, I would say that you're most likely going to run into the snow less than two miles from the top. Those planning on hiking the gem of the Smokies today, be advised. Extreme cold awaits your arrival, with sub-zero wind chills and a fresh blanket of snow near the summit. Ice is a huge threat with these rapidly declining temperatures, so keep your eyes peeled. In addition to already brutal conditions, water levels are extremely high in the lower elevations. Use caution along the creeks and tributaries over the next few days. If the current conditions pose too much of a risk, turn around and give it a go on a more practical day. There is no shame in throwing in the towel for your own safety...
Yesterday's high was a crisp 45 degrees, with bone-chilling low of 14. Temperatures aren't expected to climb whatsoever today, with slight increases in the forecast tomorrow. Throughout the day, we received 2.3 inches of precipitation (mostly rain), and a whopping 3.5 inches of snow overnight! Flooding up top has ceased due to a beautiful white blanket of untouched greatness, but I can only assume things are pretty dicey down below. All that running water on the trail could have transformed into ice, so be on the lookout when hiking today! Looking at the forecast for the next few days, snow and freezer-like temperatures are thought to occur until Saturday night, with clear skies predicted all day Sunday. I am planning on making the journey down the Alum Cave trail this morning, so I will take note of the current trail conditions. I am also planning on frolicking in the snow with passion and precision over these next few days, so I'll keep the pictures coming! Those traveling to and from the Park today, be safe out there on the open road! With all the automobile accidents that happen regularly across the country, flooding and heavy rainfall could greatly increase your chances of getting in an accident. Stay safe, use your best judgement, and drive defensively...
"I pray this winter be gentle and kind; a season of rest from the wheel of the mind..."
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