Weather News

Large chunk of Blue Ridge Parkway closed, state park sealed off amid severe weather

Mount Mitchell State Park closed Friday after intense storms shuttered hundreds of miles of the Blue Ridge Parkway in parts of the Carolinas and Virginia.

The parkway was closed starting at milepost zero in Virginia and continuing across the North Carolina border — all the way to milepost 217 near Stone Mountain Overlook, according to a National Park Service update on Thursday. More sections have since been deemed unsafe to drive.

“The Blue Ridge Parkway closed Thursday night in both directions from Mount Mitchell State Park due to significant rain, snow and wind,” N.C. State Parks and Recreation said Friday. “The park is not accessible when the Parkway is closed in both directions. The park will be closed until the National Park Service can survey the Parkway for safety.”

Rangers with the National Park Service pointed to “severe weather and high winds” as the catalyst.

The National Weather Service in Blacksburg had issued a severe thunderstorm warning for the area on Thursday. Thunderstorms and sub-freezing temperatures in the 20s and 30s are expected near Asheville and in the surrounding mountain region.

Another section of the parkway between Asheville and Cherokee on Highway 191 is also closed.

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Hayley is a Real Time reporter at The Charlotte Observer covering breaking news and trending stories in the Carolinas. She also created the Observer’s unofficial bird beat (est. 2015) with a summer full of ornithological-related content, including a story about Barred Owls in love.