Winter Storm Closes Shenandoah’s Skyline Drive and Some Sections of Blue Ridge Parkway

Motorists planning to travel in the Appalachians and the Blue Ridge Mountains should be sure to check on current weather and road conditions before visiting the national parks there. Snow, ice, and downed trees from a major winter storm have created dangerous driving conditions in all three major parks of the region. The 105-mile long Skyline Drive in Virginia's Shenandoah National Park is completely closed. Some sections of the Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina/Virginia have been closed or rendered unusually hazardous to drive. Highway 441 (Newfound Gap Road) in Great Smoky Mountains National Park is subject to closure, especially at night, due to ice on the road.

It may take weeks before some of the closed sections can be reopened. This is especially true in the highest and coldest areas of the parks where the melting of snow and ice is slowest. Unfortunately, road conditions could significantly deteriorate in the near future, Forecasters anticipate that as much as six inches of additional snow may fall in some of the affected areas, such as the Asheville, North Carolina vicinity.

Unusually cold conditions prevail in much of the affected region. Asheville, for example, has had its longest stretch of sub-freezing weather in more than three decades.

Since it’s not possible to close all sections of park highways that have dangerous driving conditions, motorists must exercise due caution traveling anywhere in the storm-impacted region.

For additional information about current weather and road conditions in the three major parks, motorists can access recorded messages at the following numbers. The recorded messages may not provide all the weather information you need, so be sure to consult other appropriate sources.

Blue Ridge Parkway: (828) 298-0398

Great Smoky Mountains National Park: (865) 436-1200 x631

Shenandoah National Park (Skyline Drive*): (540) 999-3500

* All park facilities are closed for the winter (reopening in April). Though Skyline Drive is currently closed, it is open, weather permitting, throughout the year.

Comments

Bob is a little optimistic.
All of the Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina is closed. Crews were working
on opening up a "commuter" section of the Parkway which goes through Asheville but
more snow is expected by tonight - Thursday January 7.

It's supposed to warm up next week so who knows. Keep that Parkway number on your
speed dial.

Danny Bernstein
www.hikertohiker.com

Thanks for the update, Danny. As you've underlined with your comment, this is a fluid situation that's already bad and could get lots worse in a hurry -- especially in the North Carolina sections of the Blue Ridge Parkway, which has the parkway's highest and steepest sections. Bye the bye, I am having some "dodged the bullet" feelings even as we speak. Sandy and I made serious plans to move to the Asheville area (where we have relatives), but we gave up the idea after spending the better part of a year looking for just the right house in just the right place. (I spent more darn time on that "commuter" section of the parkway you mentioned than I care to remember.) Now, every time the temperature plunges or snow piles up in Buncombe or Henderson County, I just sit here in (normally) warm and sunny central South Carolina with a very smug smile on my face.

Due to the major winter storm, driving conditions deteriorated further today, Thursday, January 7, throughout the Appalachians and Blue Ridge region. Highway 441 (Newfound Gap Road) in Great Smoky is now closed due to snow and ice. Numerous sections of the Blue Ridge Parkway in both North Carolina and Virginia are closed (gated), and driving is not recommended on non-gated sections. Skyline Drive in Shenandoah remains closed.