Update October 5 5:00 pm All of the Pisgah National Forest sites have reopened, and the Blue Ridge Parkway is open again as well. Chimney Rock State Park is open again, but it looks like the trails in DuPont State Forest remain closed. So come on up to the mountains, the weather is fantastic again and the autumn display is now underway!
Update October 4 12:00 pm Most of the rain missed us here in WNC, with only 1-2 inches falling in most places and up to 5 in isolated spots. The sun is reappearing and hopefully things will start opening back up soon!
We don’t normally post about short-term weather events, but if you were planning on visiting the mountains of Western North Carolina – or anywhere in the Carolinas, for that matter – you’re probably aware that the weather forecast has a tremendous amount of rain in it for the next three days. Some weather forecasters are using terms like “historical”, and a preemptive State of Emergency has been declared by the North Carolina governor in all 100 counties. Flash Flood and Aerial Flood watches are in effect until Monday morning.
We’ll have to wait and see how bad it really gets, but as a result, outdoor recreation across the area will undoubtedly be impacted, and many weather related closures have already been put in place, with some of those affecting recreation facilities. Here’s what we’re aware of thus far:
In the National Forests:
- The Cradle of Forestry’s Forest Festival Day has been postponed until October 17
- Brown Mountain OHV trails are closed
- Black Mountain Campground is closed
- Carolina Hemlocks Campground is closed
- Mortimer Campground is closed
- Briar Bottom Campground is closed
- Curtis Creek Campground and Curtis Creek Road (FS 482) are closed
- Steeles Creek Road (FS 282) is closed
In the National Parks:
- The Blue Ridge Parkway is nearly all closed in western North Carolina. You can check for reopening on the real-time closures map here
In State and Local Parks:
- Ridgeline, Jim Branch, Hooker Creek and Reasonover Creek trails are closed in DuPont State Forest
- Chimney Rock State Park is closed Saturday
- Other State Parks may need to be closed with short notice if conditions worsen.
Streams and creeks are already high, and will be raging by this weekend. There is a real probability of downed trees, falling rocks, debris flows, and mudslides. Footbridges and wet crossings are especially vulnerable and many trails will likely be cut off by high water. Do not attempt to cross flooded trails and/or roads! Other recreational areas and road closures across the region may occur, and we’ll update this post if and when we find out more.
Please be aware and check your destination before leaving, and consider postponing your outing if you can. Fall colors are getting underway at the highest elevations, but the vast majority of the autumn show will wait until after this storm. If you still decide to head out, bring a waterproof camera and be careful out there!