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Park closes secondary roads for storm preparation

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Great Smoky Mountains National Park officials are closing several secondary roads and monitoring conditions on primary roads in preparation for expected high winds and heavy rainfall associated with Hurricane Zeta. The National Weather Service has issued a High Wind Warning for the mountains through noon on Thursday, October 29. Officials anticipate sustained winds of 30 mph with gusts up to 60 mph and 3 to 6 inches of rain through Thursday.

Due to the potential for hazardous conditions caused by downed trees, flooding, and rockslides, the following roads will be closed overnight: Balsam Mountain Road, Cherokee Orchard Road, Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail, Greenbrier Entrance Road, Wear Cove Gap Road, Foothills Parkway from Walland to Wears Valley, Hwy 284 from Big Creek to Cataloochee, and Little River Road from Elkmont to Townsend. With secondary roads closed, park staff will focus response efforts on primary roads to keep them cleared and open for travel as possible.

All closures will remain in effect until the High Wind Warning has expired. At that time, crews will assess damage and begin clearing roads as needed for reopening. Hikers are advised to avoid hiking during this time period across the park, particularly in areas with standing dead trees. Park visitor centers, campgrounds, and picnic areas remain open at this time. Visitors should exercise extreme caution when making travel plans.

For the most up to date information about road closures, follow SmokiesRoadsNPS on Twitter. Please visit https://www.nps.gov/grsm/learn/photosmultimedia/webcams.htm to view images from webcams across the park including Newfound Gap, Clingmans Dome, Look Rock, and Purchase Knob.

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