Knoxville, Tenn. (WATE) – The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is closing several roads ahead of a warning of high winds and storms that are expected to move through eastern Tennessee on Wednesday night.
The park said the decision to close the roads was made because of the potential for hazardous conditions caused by downed trees and the increased risk of fire danger. The National Weather Service expects sustained winds between 35 and 45 mph with gusts up to 80 mph.
The following roads will likely begin closing after 10 a.m. Wednesday:
- New Gap Road
- Cades Cove Loop Road
- Foothills Parkway West (Lake Chilhowee to Wears Valley)
- Foothills Parkway East.
The following roads are expected to begin closing after noon on Wednesday:
- Little river path
- Wear Cove Gap Road
- Laurel Creek Road
- Tremont Road
Road closures may occur earlier than expected and other roads may be closed if conditions warrant. Roads will remain closed until the high wind warning ends. Park officials will then assess the damage and begin clearing the roads if necessary before reopening.
“Hikers are advised to avoid hiking during this time through the park, especially in areas with standing dead trees,” the park said in a statement. “Park visitor centers, campgrounds and picnic areas remain open at this time. Visitors should exercise extreme caution when planning their trip.
For the most up-to-date information on road closures, you can follow @SmokiesRoadsNPS on Twitter.
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