KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — In this latest Smoky Mountain Minute, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park Emergency Manager visited WATE 6 On Your Side. She spoke about how hikers and visitors of the park need to be ready for severe weather at all times.

Liz Hall was hired in 2020 to fill the park’s first-ever emergency management position. She’s a law enforcement officer and oversees the park’s EMS and search and rescue programs.

During the 2023 Severe Weather Awareness Week in Tennessee, which runs from February 19-25, she discussed how weather conditions can vary throughout the park and how conditions can change depending on the elevation.

“The temperature can change significantly in elevations, we also experience different types of wind events, so it’s not uncommon for ice to persist up ant Mount LeConte and Clingmans Done well into April,” said Hall.

She also spoke about how people can be prepared for ice and snow.

“They either need to have MICROspikes with them or choose a different trip plan so they don’t trip and fall on the ice when they’re in higher elevations,” she said.

Hall also advised visitors to dress in layers and make sure they have a variety of equipment they could need for various weather scenarios.

She lastly shed some light on the correlation between severe weather and the number of search and rescue operations.

“It turns out there is actually a 9% increase in incidents occurring in the park when we have bad weather,” said Hall, crediting a partnership between the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the National Weather Service in 2021 to find that specific data.

She said the top piece of advice is as simple as checking the forecast before setting out in the mountains.