These final two nights of the season are setting up to be anything but uneventful. Please take a gander at the mountain’s weather forecast and plethora of pending warnings and watches for our area…
A High Wind Warning will be in effect from 2:00 PM today through 4:00 PM Tuesday. Sustained winds of 25-40mph with gusts upwards of 85mph out of the southeast are expected. Due to the predicted wind speeds and their perpendicular angle to the Smokies chain, the peaks and leeward side (East TN) of the mountains are expected to endure a “mountain wave” event. To learn more about the significance of mountain waves, we encourage you to check out this link. Use caution on area roads and trails as such wind speeds increase the potential for falling trees, swirling debris, and downed power lines in the gateway communities.
A Red Flag Warning (recently upgraded from a Fire Weather Watch) will also be in effect from noon today through 7:00 AM Tuesday. The strong winds, low humidity, drought conditions, and warm temps are all potential factors that can contribute to extreme or rapidly spreading fire behavior. Strict burn bans remain in place throughout GSMNP and Sevier County. Due to these forecast conditions and the effect of this autumn’s drought on our natural water source, we will be implementing various fire safety and water rationing precautions until the lodge closes Wednesday, climate conditions improve, or we receive new instruction from the NPS.
Rain is currently not expected to arrive until early Tuesday morning. It is one’s hope that it will last all day and unload a couple inches. As the front pushes through and winds shift from south to north, temps will drop and the precip could transition from rain to snow. As of now, little to no snow accumulation is expected Tuesday night into Wednesday morning. So in a matter of 48 hours, Mt. LeConte will likely be going from one extreme to the other as we try to put a bow on the 2023 season and close up shop before the holiday.
Temps up top this morning are mild in the low 40s. Clouds have thickened over the summit, and winds have been gradually picking up during the night. It appears none of those observations will change today, so please hit the trails early and come prepared for what is expected.
Be safe and have a great day.