GATLINBURG, Tenn. (WATE) — Great Smoky Mountains National Park staff is monitoring weather conditions to determine what measures may need to be taken as rainfall from Hurricane Ian is expected later this week, a park spokesperson said.
As the storm following Hurricane Ian moves north, it is anticipated to bring some rain up into parts of East Tennessee, mainly in the farther northeast section of the state. Recent forecasts from WATE meteorologists suggest that around an inch of rain may fall over the weekend.
A weather advisory has been issued to permit holders who have reservations in the park on Friday and Saturday nights to help ensure that they are following the weather and planning ahead for the conditions, Dana Soehn, a GSMNP spokesperson, said.
“We’re continuing to watch the predicted storm path to determine if further actions are necessary,” Soehn said, “At this time, we don’t have any closures in place.”
On Friday, Soehn said that they are still continuing to monitor the storm’s path and no closures have been implemented. She explained that it appeared that there would be rain and windy conditions at higher elevations, but if there was a change in conditions causing a High Wind Watch or High Wind Warning, closures will be considered.
Earlier this year, July broke the record for the month with the most rain in the park, as over 18 inches of rain fell on Mt. LeConte during July. With this rain, came flash flooding conditions, forcing over 400 people to evacuate a campground just outside the park as water levels rose.
The flash flood swept away cars and tents into the Little Pigeon River, and left those in the campground with little time to escape.
Ian was downgraded to a tropical storm Thursday morning. Local weather sources in Florida have said that Ian has restrengthened to a category 1 hurricane, and as of 11 a.m. on Friday, it was about 60 miles southeast of Charleston, South Carolina.
EDITORS NOTE: This story has been updated with new information.