Smokies hikers take precautions as wind warning takes effect

Smokies hikers take precautions as wind warning takes effect

Posted:
High wind gusts are bad news for hikers and campers in the Smokies. High wind gusts are bad news for hikers and campers in the Smokies.
Recent heavy rains have saturated the soil, contributing to land slides along the roads and trails. The wet conditions also make it easier for large trees to fall. Recent heavy rains have saturated the soil, contributing to land slides along the roads and trails. The wet conditions also make it easier for large trees to fall.

By STEPHANIE BEECKEN
6 News Reporter

GATLINBURG (WATE) - Wind gusts of more than 60 miles per hour are possible through Wednesday morning in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, meaning trees could come crashing down. That is bad news for any hikers and campers in the area.

Rangers at the GSMNP spent the Tuesday trying to make sure visitors were prepared for high winds and worsening weather conditions. 6 News spoke with a couple of visitors who were thankful for the advice.

Richard Ives and Nicole Denarey are visiting Gatlinburg from Florida.

"We came to hike here in the Smokies, actually," said Ives.

GSMNP Public Information Officer Caitlin Worth has several warnings for visitors though.  She says the extreme temperatures have caused rock falls in the park.

"When it gets really cold at night the water freezes and expands and we see rocks break away from the sides of the road," said Worth.

She says the recent heavy rains have saturated the soil, contributing to land slides along the roads and trails. The wet conditions also make it easier for large trees to fall.

"The right amount of wind and soil saturation can cause a lot of downed trees in the park," said Worth.

Worth says if you see downed trees or rock and land slides, contact park rangers. Don't try to move the trees or rock yourself because more may be coming down. Due to the signage and weather information at the visitor center, Richard Ives and Nicole Denarey cut their hike short to one trial.

"It was pretty wet going up, a little snow here and there but it wasn't too bad.  At the top it was really windy," said Ives.

Park rangers want to remind visitors their plans may change Wednesday because of the possibility of downed trees through the park. To find out about the conditions before your trip you can call the park information line at (865) 436-1200. The park information line gives updated weather and road conditions.

Shelters are also available on site for campers if the wind gusts get really strong.

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