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The fall colors are at their peak and the beautiful reds, yellows and oranges are shining brightly throughout the Smoky Mountains. But the fall colors are quickly coming to an end, and the winter weather really is on its way!
This weekend, the Great Smoky Mountains are expecting the first snow of the season–and 14 inches of snow, at that! This is just the beginning of what is said to be one of the colder winters in the mountains.
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According to local KnoxNews.com, this particular snow is going to come from a strong upper level storm system that will move across the Southern Appalachians on Friday through Saturday. The system will develop a strong low pressure which will pull the chill of winter into the Tennessee Valley and the Great Smoky Mountains.
When the cold air starts moving in, the rain will mix with the cold temperatures, forming up to 14 inches of possible snow.
Obviously, like the temperature, the weather is determined based on elevation. The highest elevations can expect up to 14 inches while elevations up to 2,500 feet can expect anywhere from 4-8 inches of snow.
The National Weather Service is predicting a possibility of lower elevations (below 2,500 feet) to receive 1-4 inches of snow. Light snow accommodations are possible.
To keep up with the weather, take a look at our Smoky Mountain weather videos. Our meteorologist, Paul Poteet, keeps up with the Smoky Mountains and all of the weather patterns throughout the season. These videos are great for planning your vacation because you will know exactly what you need to pack!
If you’re going to be visiting during this time, you may get to see the best of two seasons: the bright colors of the fall mixed with the snowfall of winter in the Smoky Mountains.
Keep in mind, if snow does begin to accumulate in the mountains, some of the roads may close for safety of visitors. Be sure to keep an eye on road conditions in the national park from the National Park Service. They keep an updated list of temporary closures on their website here: https://www.nps.gov/grsm/planyourvisit/temproadclose.htm
The most important road to worry about is Newfound Gap Road that connects Gatlinburg, TN to Cherokee, NC through the mountains.
Sometimes the weather in the Smoky Mountains can be unpredictable, so it’s important to be prepared for any weather condition. Although we are planning for our first snowfall of the season, the full winter weather isn’t here just yet. When you’re packing, you should be able to get away with just packing some jeans and a jacket for the trip.
Aside from your casual vacation experience, you will need to pack extra items for hiking in the Smokies in the cold weather. You won’t want to get cold out on the trails, and you’ll want to be nice and cozy while you’re hiking. Like always, make sure to pack for layers. In case the weather is nicer some days than others, you’ll want to be able to dress down and enjoy the warmer temperatures.
For more helpful information about hiking during the winter season and hiking through snow in the Smoky Mountains, take a look at our blog: 5 Tips for Hiking the Smokies in Colder Weather.
What is your favorite thing to do in the winter in the Smoky Mountains? Scroll to the bottom of this post and tell us in the comments below!
The author will respond to readers’ comments.