Many roads remained closed Saturday in Great Smoky Mountains National Park from an ongoing blast of snow and ice that shut down the Cherokee Indian government and schools across the North Carolina mountains.
And National Weather Service meteorologists warned of bitterly cold temperatures this weekend for the Charlotte area, Carolinas mountains and the N.C. foothills.
Minus-20 wind chills
An “arctic air mass will linger through the weekend,” NWS meteorologists in the Greer, South Carolina, said in a hazardous weather outlook bulletin at 11 a.m. Saturday.
“Cold temperatures and bitter wind chills are likely across the area again Sunday morning,” according the NWS alert.
Snow showers were forecast until noon Saturday in the Asheville area, where a high of near 16 was predicted and wind chill values as low as -5, according to the NWS Asheville forecast at 11 a.m. Saturday.
A wind chill advisory is in effect for Boone, Marion and West Jefferson until 10:30 a.m. Sunday
Wind chills as low as 20 below zero are forecast.
In Boone, the NWS forecast a chance of snow showers and blowing snow on Saturday and a high of 10 degrees. A low of around 3 was forecast for early Sunday and wind chill values as low as -16.
“The cold wind chills could cause frostbite on exposed skin in as little as 30 minutes,” NWS forecasters said in the advisory.
Scattered snow showers were possible through Saturday night, “leading to slick roads,” according to the NWS alert. “Continue to travel with caution. Wear appropriate clothing, a hat and gloves.”
In Charlotte, the NWS predicted a high of 33 under sunny skies on Saturday and a low of 15 early Sunday.
Sunday’s high, also under all sunshine, could nudge up to 39 degrees in Charlotte, NWS forecasters said, and the low early Monday could top 20 degrees.
Seasonal temperatures should return on Monday, when a high of 48 is forecast in Charlotte. Highs are then expected to improve to 53 on Tuesday and 62 on Wednesday, 68 on Thursday and .... drum roll, please ... 70 on Friday.
Showers are likely in Charlotte Wednesday through Friday, with the chance at 70%.
Bitter cold wind chills can be expected through Sunday, especially along and west of the Blue Ridge. Take extra precautions if you have to be outdoors. If you need to go outside, then wear layers of warm clothing. Watch for signs of frostbite and hypothermia. pic.twitter.com/a7Py9nMJ8b
— NWS Blacksburg (@NWSBlacksburg) January 20, 2024
Top snowfall amounts
Two ski destinations in the NC mountains saw the highest snow dumps from the Friday and Saturday storm, according to the NWS office in Greer, South Carolina.
Sugar Mountain and Banner Elk in Avery County topped the chart with a respective 8” and 6.2”, the NWS office reported.
Buladean in Mitchell County had 5.8,” while 5.2” fell on Jonas Ridge in Burke County and 5” in Weaverville in Buncombe County, Marshall in Madison County and Faust in Yancey County.
Maggie Valley in Haywood County saw 4“, according to the NWS.
Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Crews continued to clear roads in the park on Saturday morning that spans parts of eastern Tennessee and N.C. mountain counties, park officials said.
Still closed, rangers said, are:
▪ Newfound Gap, Little River and Cherokee Orchard roads at the park boundary.
▪ Laurel Creek, Cades Cove Loop and Upper Tremont roads.
▪ Foothills Parkway East & West.
▪ Wears Cove Gap, Old NC 284 and Lakeview Drive.
▪ Greenbrier Cove area.
▪ Cataloochee entrance and Tom Branch.
Due to light snow and icy roads, the Sugarlands Visitor Center delayed its opening to 11 a.m. Saturday, while the Oconaluftee Visitor Center and Deep Creek facilities are open, rangers said.
Cherokee Indian closures, safety tips
Government offices of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians closed again on Friday “due to ongoing winter weather conditions and the safety of our employees,” Principal Chief Michell Hicks said on Facebook. The offices were closed much of the week.
“Frigid cold temperatures are upon us again!” the EBCI Communications Department said on Facebook Saturday morning.
Tribal officials offered these cold weather tips:
▪ Keep faucets dripping to prevent frozen pipes.
▪ Insulate pipes and water lines in your home.
▪ Place a non-LED light in your well house.
▪ Seal drafts to maintain indoor heat.
▪ Layer clothing and use blankets for extra warmth.
▪ Check on neighbors, especially the vulnerable.
▪ Avoid unnecessary outdoor activities.
▪ Stock up on heating fuel for furnaces.
▪ Ensure pets have warm shelter.
On Wednesday, Hicks urged everyone to “please stay safe and use caution if you must drive.”