2 dead in Great Smoky Mountains Park storm
One man died in a motorcycle accident, while a woman died in a separate incident when a tree fell on her, the park said in a statement late Thursday.
Severe thunderstorms rolled through east Tennessee on Thursday evening, downing trees and blocking roads, park officials said.
The weather that hit the park began as a cluster of thunderstorms that formed along the Ohio River moving south. The storms continued to intensify as they got into more heat and humidity, and converged on the foothills of the Smokies.
Straight-line winds of 70 mph were recorded.
The storm hit during the busy Fourth of July week at the nation’s most-visited national park, which straddles the Tennessee and North Carolina border.
The park covers more than 800 square miles in the Southern Appalachian Mountains and boasts a diversity of plants and animal life, and is known for its beauty.
Between 8 million and 10 million people visit the park each year, according to the National Park Service.