GATLINBURG, Tenn. (WKRN) – Great Smoky Mountains National Park officials announced they will close roads and facilities in the park in advance of Hurricane Irma. The park made the announcement on its Facebook page on Saturday afternoon.
The park cited predictions from the National Weather Service as the reason for the closures, saying Irma will be a tropical depression when it reaches the Smokies. Park officials said sustained winds of 30 – 50 mph are predicted throughout Monday and into Tuesday, with higher gusts possible.PHOTOS: Hurricane Irma
The park also said rainfall amounts were predicted to be 2-5 inches beginning Monday afternoon through Wednesday, with higher rainfall amounts possible on the North Carolina side of the park. Officials said the closures are necessary due to the potential for downed trees, flooding and landslides.MORE: Complete coverage of Hurricane Irma
Closing Saturday, September 9, 2017:
- Picnic Area/Campgrounds: Balsam Mountain, Big Creek, Collins Creek, Deep Creek, Heintooga and Round Bottom
- Tennessee Roads: Ramsey Cascade Road including Ramsey Cascade Trail and Tremont Road (Upper) from Tremont Institute to Middle Prong Trailhead
- North Carolina Roads: Balsam Mountain Road, Clingmans Dome Road, Deep Creek Access Road and Tom’s Branch, Heintooga Ridge Road/Round Bottom Road/Straight Fork Road,
NC Hwy 284,Twentymile
- Facilities: Appalachian Highlands Science Learning Center at Purchase Knob, Clingmans Dome Information Center, and Leconte Lodge
Closing Sunday, September 10, 2017:
- Picnic Areas/Campgrounds: Anthony Creek, Abrams Creek, Cades Cove, Cataloochee, Chimneys, Cosby, Elkmont, Greenbrier, Metcalf, Smokemont, Tow-String,Twin Creeks
- Tennessee Roads: Abrams Creek Road, Cades Cove Loop Road at 6 p.m., Cherokee Orchard Road, Cosby Access Road, Elkmont Road, Forge Creek Road, Greenbrier Road, Laurel Creek Road, Little River Road, Rich Mountain Road, Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail, Tremont Road, and Wear Cove Gap Rd
- North Carolina Roads: Cataloochee Road and Lakeview Drive
- Facilities: Appalachian Clubhouse and Spence Cabin, Cable Mill Visitor Center, Cades Cove Stables,Smoky Mountain Stables, Smokemont Riding Stables, Sugarlands Riding Stables
Park officials also said overnight backcountry use was not recommended beginning Sunday through Thursday, due to the potential threat of downed trees and flooded streams. Officials said refunds to backcountry reservation holders will be available for those who are unable to reschedule their trips.