We’ve already put three October weekends behind us and now Mother Nature is primed to hit us with our first winter blast, at least according to the thermometer anyways. What little lingering rain there is in the vicinity this morning is gradually making it’s way out of town, and skies are expected to clear with each passing hour. And as the clouds disappear today the temps will drop to what will be downright bone chilling late this evening and into tomorrow. We’ve had several teasers of light frosts in recent weeks, but this is going to be our first hard freeze of autumn. We’ll begin the day in the 40s but the mercury will eventually slide down to the mid teens tonight. The cold temps will become amplified by the gusty winds, slicing through as fast as 30mph at times, which will make it feel like single digits tonight and tomorrow. The Freeze Warning extends to the lower elevations, so any wet places on trail and around the lodge are sure to become icy and slick. Extra layers and accessories for keeping your body and extremities warm are going to be a must for overnight guests and day hikers in the coming days. And you’ll be wise to include some traction devices just in case the trails become uncomfortably slick. Even though we’ll receive an adequate dose of sunshine this week, don’t bank on it for providing much info the way of warmth at our elevation. This is also a good time to remind folks about staying tuned in to the NPS road conditions, as slippery surfaces can prompt the temporary closure of park roads on a whim. Always a good idea to have a backup plan in place for accessing Mt. LeConte if your primary route of choice becomes unreachable for reasons of visitor vehicular safety.
Stay warm out there and have a gray day.