Snow, ice make many forest roads in WNC hazardous

Many roads in Nantahala and Pisgah National Forests remain snow-covered and icy. (Photo credit: WLOS staff)

Many roads in Nantahala and Pisgah national forests remain snow-covered and icy.

Although temperatures have risen above freezing, eliminating snow from most paved streets, this is not true for roads in the national forests, which are mostly unpaved and unplowed. Because of remaining snow and ice, the condition on many forest roads is hazardous, especially at higher elevations. While gates may be open, drivers should not assume roads are safe for travel.

It may be several days before forest staff is able to safely assess road conditions. Contact your local ranger district office to get the latest information. Many places in the forest do not have cell phone service, so know before you go.

When traveling on forest roads, be aware that snow and ice make tree failure more likely. Fallen limbs or trees may block roads. Also, the freeze-thaw cycle can loosen rocks, which can roll onto roads.

Your safety is your responsibility. Take these preventive measures to help keep yourself safe:

Avoid traveling alone. If you must travel alone, share your plans. Tell someone where you are going and when you expect to return.

Use appropriate tires and adjust your speed where there is snow or ice.

Carry emergency kits containing water, food, blankets and matches.

Take extra clothing in case you get wet.

Click here for more safety tips.

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