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Snowy Blackberry Winter Hits Southern Highlands

leah kirk

A cold rain turned to snow late last week in the highest reaches of the central and southern Appalachians, depositing up to half-foot of snow last Saturday.

“We’re up to 6″ of snow now,” the LeConte Lodge in Great Smoky Mountains National Park wrote Saturday on Facebook. “The winds have started up again. … Temps continue to be in the mid 20s. US 441 just re-closed due to ice and snow.”

Blackberry winter is credited with a rare late-spring snowstorm surprised many in an area that just days before was basking in sweet southern sunshine and blackberry blossoms. Six inches fell on the summit of Mount LeConte, Tenn. (elevation 6,594 feet), making it the second snowiest day in May on record there (blame global warming…). U.S. Route 441 that cuts across Great Smoky Mountains National Park was closed briefly because of snow and ice.

Snow was reported up the spine of the Appalachians with trace amounts measured in several locations in the North Carolina high country including Mount Mitchell and Boone. Snowshoe, WV received 1.5 inches and nearby Canaan Valley up to three inches depending on elevation.