Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Rain brings little relief to the Smoky Mountains.

Although it has been raining in much of the North Carolina and Tennessee Smokies from last evening until this morning it is too little to late to make much of a difference.

High winds and warmer temperatures throughout the Smoky Mountains yesterday morning turning into scattered light rain in the afternoon and the moderate rain into and throughout the night.

Since rainfall in the Smokies has been dramatically light this year as a result of the drought the Smoky Mountains region is suffering, branches and leaves that would have normally fallen throughout the course of stormy weather the past few months all seem to have fallen in the past 2 days.

branches in road

Since so many branches and leaves have fallen throughout the night drivers, hikers and horseback riders must pay extra attention. Some of the tourist to the Smokies who normally don't have to deal with wet leaf litter on the road may not realize how slippery and dangerous leaves on the road can be - especially on mountain roads.

Hikers must also pay attention when hiking on trails as there is lots of fresh leaf litter on hard packed earth. Mix in exposed tree roots, slippery rocks and wet leaves on a trail and hiking can be like walking on a sheet of glass and the stepping onto a banana which can spell disaster - especially on steep trails.

People riding horses may also have to contend with downed branches across horse trails that can block a trail off and the leaves can make for slippery footing even for the most sure footed horse.

Experts in Western North Carolina claim that even though a few showers in the past week may have dampened the ground and made many small streams and rivers flow again, it is not enough precipitation to properly percolate into the ground. At the current rate of water usage imbalance, hundreds of thousands of people in North Carolina can expect severe water issues or an interruption of water services if there are no interventions within the next 100 days.

According to the report sent to the North Carolina State Water Infrastructure Commission conservation and any normal rainfall which can be counted on may not be enough. Communities in North Carolina are already examining if they need to buy water from neighboring towns and cities, start even more severe conservation and restriction programs and maybe starting to use water from the last of the unused reservoirs.

The water shortage problem may be further complicated by the predicted light and dry weather meteorologists are predicting for the Smoky Mountains this winter.

No comments: