Blue Ridge Parkway closed as officials survey damage done by Hurricane Florence

Much of the Blue Ridge Parkway remained closed Monday, as crews removed trees and rocks bought down by Hurricane Florence.

“Closures are expected to continue until conditions improve and crews can safely address any damage,” said a statement posted on Facebook. “Please respect the closures as our staff begin to complete assessments. This closure applies to all uses, including hiking and cycling.”

Among the National Park’s biggest fears: Landslides.

Among the areas that were able to reopen Monday afternoon were the far southern leg, just south of the Pisgah Inn, as well as Mount Mitchell State Park, Northwest Trading Post, Doughton Park Campground, Linn Cover Visitor Center and Waterrock Knob Visitor Center.

The parkway evacuated all its camp sites on Wednesday and Thursday, then closed the remainder of the 469-mile-long parkway on Friday evening in anticipation of “high volumes of rain, strong winds at higher elevations, and potential landslides across the foothills.”

Wind gusts in the 35 mph range and up to 15 inches or rain were predicted for the parkway and surrounding areas.

“We’ve learned from experience that these types of events are nothing to fool with on the Parkway,” said a statement posted on Facebook.

“Rain and wind often bring down trees, cause landslides and decrease visibility suddenly. A hike or drive is simply not worth the risk when conditions of this type exist.”

Photos posted on Facebook Monday showed crews removing downed trees in the roadway, and a pickup truck that had run off the road.

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Mark Price: 704-358-5245, @markprice_obs
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