Hazardous Conditions Alert during my recent AT SOBO Thru-Hike within Shenandoah National Park (VA)
I am in Greenville SC for family time and improved weather conditions to return to SNP in Virginia and continue my SOBO Thru-Hike to Springer Mountain Georgia
HAZARDOUS CONDITIONS ALERT! January 24, 2016
Winter storm Jonas has covered much of the Appalachian Trail in snow, dropping up to 40 inches in places. High winds have created snow drifts that may be several feet deep.
Many parks and forests along the A.T. are closed. Many portions of the A.T. are inaccessible and access roads closed due to deep and drifting snow. As a result, local emergency personnel will likely not be able to respond to trail emergencies.
Remember that as elevation increases, temperatures drop, snowfall amounts increase, and drifting of snow will be greater. Conditions in the mountains may be radically different from valleys below or cities nearby.
Hiking in snow requires extreme effort and your pace may be reduced to only a few tenths of a mile in an hour. The trail may be difficult to follow as the path and trail markings disappears under snow. Consequences of unpreparedness for extreme conditIons can be fatal. Consider that your actions may put others at risk who may attempt a rescue or recovery.
For weather information visit www.weather.gov. Assessment of conditions may not be available for some time after the storm passes. A snowfall map showing snow accumulation as of the morning of January 24 can be viewed here, but does not reflect drifting. To view specific regions in more detail or more snowfall analysis, visit www.nohrsc.noaa.gov/nsa. (Click a region on the U.S. map at the top of the page first, then choose a more in-depth analysis). You are responsible for your own safety.
A new website www.atweather.org (not affiliated with the ATC) provides weather forecasts for shelters along the A.T. Although not absolutely precise in every shelter location, especially at higher elevations, it does provide National Weather Service forecast data that will often be more accurate than relying on forecasts in nearby towns, which can be dangerously misleading for A.T. hikers. Always be prepared for conditions that are colder, wetter, and windier than forecasts predict.