KNOXVILLE (WATE) - Cold air streaming down from the north, combined with moisture and winds from Hurricane Sandy, brought snow to higher elevations of East Tennessee.
Snow began to fall in higher elevations of Great Smoky Mountains National Park Sunday night.
U.S. Highway 441 was closed around 8:00 p.m. Sunday and reopened briefly midday on Monday before closing again around 3:00 p.m.
According to the National Park Service, Newfound Gap and Clingmans Dome Road remained closed through Monday night.
Loads of people flocked to the best
sight-seeing spots in the Smokies to take in the breathtaking, snow-covered
"Hello, it's beautiful, I love it,"
said one visitor.
The highest elevations saw more than seven inches of snow, like Mt.
LeConte and Clingmans Dome. There were four to five inches here in Newfound
"It's like a winter wonderland,"
said another visitor.
The snow was an unexpected treat
from one visitor from Florida who had never laid eyes on
"Awesome. Totally awesome. It's my
first time. Two days ago we were up here and the autumn leaves were beautiful
and now this," said Melody Mathis of Tampa.
One visiting couple made it a snowfall they'd never forget with a proposal, marking the start of their new life
The snowfall came so fast, not
everyone was exactly prepared for it.
Park officials said it wasn't an
unusual time to get snow, but it was unusual to get that amount so early in the season.
"For the month of October, the
average is usually two inches. Just in this one event, we had seven inches," said Dana
Soehn, Public Affairs Representative of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park
They worked to keep hikers safe
who were already in the mountains before the snow
"We have about 50 people in the
backcountry right now that have permits along the Appalachian Trail, so we're
trying to get the best information to them to make sure they're prepared for
these conditions," said Soehn.
6 News found several hikers who were
digging their way out of the snow.
"We made the reservations a year ago,
so we didn't know it was going to be eight inches of snow," said hiker Karl Edgar,
visiting from North
They were hiking out just after the
bulk of the snow fell.
"There were no other footprints
there at all, so we had a hard time finding where the trail was coming back out,"
said Tammy Edgar.