Oh crap!

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Will Blozan
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Joined: Fri Mar 12, 2010 7:13 pm

Oh crap!

Post by Will Blozan » Thu Jun 20, 2013 10:48 am

NTS,

This report is dangerously close to the Fork Ridge Tuliptree last measured at 17.8" X 191.8' tall (tallest eastern tree), as well as the HUGE Poke Patch Tuliptree last measured at 21' X 179'.


THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN GREENVILLE-SPARTANBURG SC HAS
CONFIRMED A TORNADO IN THE BIG CREEK AREA OF THE GREAT SMOKY
MOUNTAINS NATIONAL PARK IN HAYWOOD COUNTY NORTH CAROLINA ON JUNE
13 2013.

A SURVEY TEAM THAT INCLUDED REPRESENTATIVES FROM THE NATIONAL
WEATHER SERVICE AND THE UNC-ASHEVILLE ATMOSPHERIC SCIENCES
DEPARTMENT INVESTIGATED A REPORTED DAMAGE AREA IN THE BIG CREEK
REGION OF THE GREAT SMOKY MOUNTAINS TODAY. THE SURVEY TEAM FOUND
AN AREA OF EXTENSIVE TREE DAMAGE ABOUT 3.5 MILES UP THE DEEP CREEK
TRAIL FROM ITS TERMINUS AT DEEP CREEK CAMPGROUND. THIS APPEARED TO
BE THE END OF A DAMAGE PATH. HUNDREDS OF SMALL TREES WERE SNAPPED
10 TO 20 FEET ABOVE THE GROUND...AND DOZENS OF LARGE TREES
UPROOTED ALONG A ONE-HALF MILE SECTION OF THE TRAIL. THE DAMAGE
PATH MORE OR LESS PARALLELED DEEP CREEK...SUGGESTING THE FLOW WAS
CHANNELED DOWN THE VALLEY...WITH ALL THE DAMAGE BEING BLOWN TOWARD
THE NORTH OR NORTHWEST. CONSIDERING A PARENT STORM MOTION FROM THE
NORTHWEST...THE DAMAGE PATTERN WAS HIGHLY CONVERGENT...WHILE THE
DAMAGE PATH WAS VERY CONCENTRATED ACROSS A WIDTH OF ABOUT 100
YARDS. THESE FACTORS WERE CLEARLY INDICATIVE OF A TORNADO. THE
SURVEY TEAM VIEWED A DAMAGE PATH THAT EXTENDED UP TO A RIDGE TOP
ABOVE /LOW GAP/...AND DISCUSSIONS WITH A TRAIL MAINTENANCE CREW
INDICATED THAT THE DAMAGE PATH EXTENDED WEST/NORTHWEST TO AT LEAST
THE TENNESSEE LINE. HOWEVER...DOWNED TREES AND THE RUGGED TERRAIN
MADE A COMPLETE SURVEY IMPOSSIBLE. THE SURVEY TEAM HOPES TO USE
HIGH RESOLUTION SATELLITE DATA TO PRECISELY MARK THE BEGINNING AND
ENDING LOCATIONS OF THIS TORNADO IN THE DAYS AHEAD.


Will

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jamesrobertsmith
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Re: Oh crap!

Post by jamesrobertsmith » Thu Jun 20, 2013 2:44 pm

Here's hoping the big trees made it though the storm undamaged.

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eliahd24
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Joined: Sun Mar 14, 2010 5:17 pm

Re: Oh crap!

Post by eliahd24 » Thu Jun 20, 2013 7:32 pm

NOOOO!! Someone needs to ground truth it! Where's a few eNTS interns when we need them?

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pdbrandt
Posts: 164
Joined: Mon Dec 05, 2011 3:51 pm

Re: Oh crap!

Post by pdbrandt » Fri Jun 21, 2013 5:28 am

Are there any plans to mount an expedition to check on the trees there?
Patrick

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Josh Kelly
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Joined: Fri Mar 12, 2010 6:13 pm

Re: Oh crap!

Post by Josh Kelly » Fri Jun 21, 2013 8:38 am

Relax! The damage is 3.5 miles up from the campground and the super trees are 10 miles up from the campground. Several friends stayed at Poke Patch last weekend and I heard no stories of damage. Those trees are so tall in part because they are in such protected locations. It's possible that a they lost a limb or two, but I'm sure the Poke Patch tree is still standing and I bet the Unagudaguda tree (or whatever Ian named it) is too. It's good to keep an eye on things. It's also good to temper concern with a bit of calm. Anyway, that's my perspective. Otherwise, every time a powerful thunderstorm goes through the NC section of the park, big tree lovers will be ringing their hands. Wasn't there a similar post last year?

Rationally,
Josh

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Will Blozan
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Re: Oh crap!

Post by Will Blozan » Fri Jun 21, 2013 4:09 pm

Josh,

I am glad to hear the area was not smashed! The NWS report did note damage to the TN line- thus my concern. I do hope no damage occurred- but, that is what it is.

Back in the eighties I worked on a historic estate in Maryland pruning state record trees; black walnut, white ash, and shagbark hickory. All were lost in the derecho of 1988 just weeks after our pruning. Champions come and go but when you get a personal attachment and life experience in them their well-being seems more important.

Will

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