PIGEON FORGE, Tenn. (WATE) – Flash flooding closed numerous roads Friday in Sevier County as heavy rains caused the Little Pigeon River to get well above flood stage. And the road issues aren’t over.
Here is a list from the Sevier County Emergency Management Agency of roads still closed in Sevier County on Saturday morning: Greenbriar Cv, Hills Creek road at Emerts Cove Road, U.S. 441 (Newfound Gap Road), Old Hills Creek Road at East Parkway, River Divide Road at Battle Hill Road, Richard Cove at Dixion Branch (Maples Branch) and Snap Road.
Conditions improved over Friday night, the agency said in a Facebook post early Saturday. However, water on roads is still an issue. “Please do not go beyond any road closure markings,” the Facebook post said.
“We saw a tree floating by. Not every day you see a tree in the river I guess…glad I’m not swimming in it,” said Spence Hackney of Wilmington, N.C.
“It’s pretty crazy with the water being that high and this close to the parking lot. This didn’t change plans, it just changed the parking,” said Noah Payne, a tourist from Virginia.
“Well when we rolled up I pointed out right here that I thought this was supposed to be a fence and that was a bench and it was under the water. So we were all a little bit shocked. It definitely is quite a wonder to come down here and watch the water like this,” said Pauline Heiny visiting from Asheville.
At mid-afternoon Friday, the following roads were closed in Sevier County: River Divide Road at Henderson Road , Sharp Hollow at Battle Hill Road, Hills Creek at Emery’s Cove , Old Hills Creek at East Parkway, Emery’s Cove, Grassy Branch, Web Creek Road, Old Wagon Road at Chilhowee School Road, and Glades Road at Powdermill.
The city of Pigeon Forge said Friday Sharp Hollow, Battle Hill and River Divide roads are closed.
“If you have a car parked anywhere along the banks of the River please move your cars now. The river is rising quickly,” the Pigeon Forge Police Department said in the Facebook post on Friday.
“I usually fish this river a lot and it rose up really fast today,” said Nick Britton of Sevierville.
Meanwhile, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park evacuated campers from Elkmont Campground “out of an abundance of caution,” a park spokesperson said Friday.
The park provided shuttle service for about 20 hikers down the mountain from the Newfound Gap and Clingman’s Dome areas for hikers who are “wet, cold and concerned about being prepared for the overnight temperatures.”
Little River Road from Elkmont Road to Metcalf Bottoms is temporarily closed Saturday morning due to a rock slide, the park service said.
Elkmont, Newfound Gap Road, Greenbrier and Cades Cove Loop Road were closed Friday and were expected to remain closed overnight. The Cades Cove Loop Road was reopened Saturday morning.
A flood warning was effect in for southern Sevier County until 7:30 p.m. Friday, according to the National Weather Service.
Up to three inches of rain has already fallen and the West Prong of the Little Pigeon River at the Aquarium Bridge is near bankfull and close to flooding, the National Weather Service said in an 11:58 a.m. Friday statement.
Flooding was widespread Friday with Sevierville, Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge, Smoky Mountains-Newfound Gap, Smoky Mountains-Fontana Area, Smoky Mountains-Balsam Mountain, Pittman Center, Wears Valley, Elkmont, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and Roundtop Mountain State Park listed as places where flooding was forecast Friday in a Weather Service statement.