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Mountain road to open early

Officials at Great Smoky Mountains National Park say mild winter weather will allow them to open a popular high-elevation road as early as Friday -- weather permitting, of course.

The Clingmans Dome Road, the highest park location accessible by vehicle, typically is closed from Dec. 1 through March 31, because it usually is covered with snow or ice. But milder temperatures this season are allowing for the Feb. 15 opening, park officials say.

However, they say the road will not be plowed. So if snow or ice develops -- and it is possible this weekend -- the road will be closed. When it is closed, the road often is used by people for cross-country skiing or snowshoeing.

For updated road conditions, call 865-436-1200, ext. 631, or check SmokiesRoadsNPS on Twitter.

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