USFS anticipates closures as Hurricane Florence draws closer

The Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest Service has recently announced that in anticipation of the now Category 2 Hurricane Florence, which has made landfall in North Carolina as of Friday morning, local forest service roads and recreational areas may be impacted as a result.

According to Steven Bekkerus Public Affairs Officer for USFS, officials are closely monitoring Hurricane Florence as it sweeps across the Carolina’s and it’s potential impacts to the national forests in Georgia.

The storm is predicted to bring extreme winds and heavy rains to portions of North Carolina, Virginia, Tennessee, Georgia, and potentially throughout the mid-Atlantic. Falling trees, flash flooding, mudslides and rock slides are among the potential hazards.

All National Park Service owned Appalachian Trail corridor lands from Georgia through Virginia will be closed after 5 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 13. During this extreme weather event, all hikers/outdoorsman should get off the trail and seek shelter or postpone your hike/activities.

According to Bekkerus, there will likely be additional closures of recreation sites and/or roads as early as this weekend, especially of low-lying sites with high potential for flooding.

If you plan to visit the national forest, stay up to date on alerts related to possible hazards and closures in the Chattahoochee and Oconee National Forests.

“Remember, your safety is your responsibility. Please keep yourself, your loved-ones, and our responding personnel safe by making thoughtful decisions, staying aware of weather conditions, and heeding the advice of your local and state authorities,” Bekkerus said. “Our thoughts are with those affected, and we wish that all our neighbors stay safe.”