GSMNP - The Great Smoky Mountains National Park received 5-7 inches of rain in the last 36 hours since 7 a.m. Monday that has caused evacuations of several campgrounds and road closures because of high water, downed trees, and landslides.
As of 4:30 p.m., the status of road closures is:
• Newfound Gap Road (U.S. 441) is closed because of flooding on the boundary of Cherokee, NC.
• Little River Road from the Townsend Wye to Elkmont junction with Little River
• Cades Cove Loop Road
• Gatlinburg Bypass - a land slide 30 feet wide by 3 feet deep.
• Tremont Entrance Road - sections of road are washed away
• Greenbrier Road - a section of road is washed away
• Wears Valley Road at Metcalf Bottoms Picnic Area
Campgrounds that were affected include: total evacuation and closure of Abrams Creek, Elkmont, and Cataloochee campgrounds, and partial closure at low lying sections of Smokemont and Deep Creek campgrounds.
In addition several incidents were reported involving backcountry hikers. Park Rangers responded to a cell phone report of three stranded backpackers at backcountry campsite 68 in the North Carolina area of the Park. The trio was suffering from cold and wet and rangers decided to provide dry clothes to them rather than to attempt technical rescue. A report was made of three hikers on Rainbow Falls Trail who could not pass a swollen stream and turned back to find another route. An injured hiker was reported at the Tricorner Knob Shelter. Rangers are in the process of rescuing the hiker who reportedly had an injured leg.
We expect that the amount of rain that has fallen in the last two days has possibly caused some other issues for backcountry users with swollen and impassable streams and possible trail and bridge wash outs.
Although the rain has stopped at this time, the weather forecast is calling for more rain tonight and into tomorrow which may create continuing problems with rising water.
For updated information on road and campground conditions, visitors can call the Park's general information number at 865-436-1200.