According to the National Weather Service (NWS) in Morristown and workers with LeConte Lodge, Mount LeConte recorded 22 inches of snow from Friday night’s storm.
That impressive amount of snowfall broke the daily record for the park, which was 7.2 inches for Mount LeConte in 1993. Workers said in the lodge’s blog that “snowdrifts were larger than waist high around the grounds. As of 3 p.m. Saturday, the temperature was 17-degrees with some wind.”
LeConte Lodge, the highest guest lodge in the eastern United States with an elevation of 6,400 feet, was closed on Saturday (with the exception of taking care of the guests that reached the summit on Friday). Crews with the National Park Service closed all roads due to snow and ice conditions and concerns of downed trees from the high winds and heavy snow.
As of Sunday, Nov. 3, Mount LeConte was only accessible via the Rainbow Falls Trail.
NPS Rangers also evacuated campers from the Elkmont and Cades Cove campgrounds on Saturday due to falling trees and other safety concerns. All campers were evacuated from Elkmont while only tent campers were evacuated from Cades Cove, as RV campers were permitted to stay for the time being.
As of Monday, Nov. 3, most roads and facilities in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park (GSMNP) reopened. US 441, Newfound Gap Road between Gatlinburg, Tenn. and Cherokee, N.C., reopened with the caution to watch for snow and ice. Little River Road from Gatlinburg to the Townsend Wye reopened to all vehicle traffic with the caution to watch for snow and ice.
Clingmans Dome Road remained closed Monday due to snow and ice conditions along the seven mile stretch to the Clingmans Dome Trailhead and visitors center. That road is located at the summit of Newfound Gap Road, US 441.
Several roads and facilities are now closed for the season, including the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail in Gatlinburg, which will be closed until April 2015.
For more updates on road conditions and closures in the GSMNP visit www.nps.gov/grsm. One can also call 865-436-1200 ext. 631 for road conditions and closures.