Roads and some facilities in Great Smoky Mountains National Park are beginning to reopen in the wake of a killer storm that left two park visitors dead.
The storm, packing 70 mph winds, ripped into the western portion of the park Thursday. Falling trees killed a motorcylist and a woman cooling off in a swimming hole along Abrams Creek, and several other visitors were injured.
Hundreds of downed trees forced the closure of roads in and around Cades Cove. By Saturday evening, though, the Cades Cove Loop, Laurel Creek Road into Cades Cove and the Little River Road from Elkmont to the Metcalf Bottoms Picnic Area reopened at 6:45 p.m. Saturday, the park announced. The Cades Cove Campground reopened, as well.
Other roads in the storm-damaged area remain closed, including the Little River Road between Metcalf Bottoms and the Townsend Wye, the Rich Mountain Road, Parson’s Branch Road and the Abrams Creek access road. The Abrams Creek Campground also remains closed. Assessment and clearing efforts will continue through the weekend.