The summit is slipping in and out of the clouds to start this Thursday. The occasional breeze and first sub-freezing temps in a while have it feeling a little chilly up top. We aren’t expecting much sun today, but we shouldn’t have to contend with precipitation either. Yesterday’s high reached 42°, along with our overnight low of 28°. It’s currently 32° and we ought to be in the clouds much of the afternoon.
By now, it shouldn’t be a mystery that some interesting weather is on tap for the weekend. Late Friday night and throughout Saturday, a decent amount of snowfall is predicted with an intense drop in air temperature. Basically High Top will be feeling more like the North Pole. The thermometer could dip as low as the single digits on Saturday, and with the wind speeds being mentioned, wind chills could have it feeling in the range of -20° to -30°. That is not normal for Mt. LeConte, and thankfully the frigid conditions aren’t going to last beyond a day. It’s probable that park roads will be closed during the storm, and for good reason.
March in these mountains is notorious for some extreme weather and dramatic shifts. Sunny and warm one day, bone chilling temps and snow squalls the next. It’s also a time when we start to see an increase in visitor traffic, particularly groups of college-aged travelers. It is often that these are the least prepared hikers coming to the mountain at a time when the weather can be at its worst, changing negatively in an instant. This weekend will not be the time to go trudging through deep snow in tennis shoes, blue jeans, yoga pants or crop tops, and without hats and gloves. Reminder that the lodge is closed. No services, no shelter. Parents and grandparents – if you know of anyone visiting the area fitting the above description, please do us, them, and yourselves a huge potentially life-saving favor and make sure they know exactly what they are getting into when they enter the wilderness. Few forces can serve up a heaping slice of humble pie like Mother Nature. Thank you.
Have a great day.