As potentially historic weather barrels down on the Pacific Northwest, Olympic National Park officials are taking no chances on the safety of the public. Starting at noon on Thursday, eight campgrounds and three main roads will be closed, with closures expected to last through the weekend. With a series of powerful storms start Thursday afternoon, where high winds and very heavy rain are anticipated, the risk of falling trees and limbs, flooding and road damage are all too real in the Pacific Northwest’s most popular National Park. The storm will be bringing near hurricane force winds, over a foot of rain and even dumping 90 inches of snow on Mount Olympus in just four days. This could be a storm for the record books and the park closures make perfect sense.
In anticipation of this week’s predicted storms, Olympic National Park staff is taking the precautionary step of closing a number of roads and campgrounds throughout the park. In March of 2016, Olympic National Park took similar measures, closing six regions in the park before a huge storm. According to a National Park Press Release sent out early Thursday morning, this round of closures is to help prevent the possibility of visitors being trapped or injured by storm damage or falling debris.
Starting at noon on Thursday, October 13th, the Hurricane Ridge and Hoh roads will be closed, while the Mora Road is already closed to due to construction on a road damaged from last year’s storms. Also at noon today, the Mora, Kalaloch, Hoh, Ozette, Queets, Heart O’the Hills, Quinault North Fork and Quinault Graves Creek campgrounds will be closed to all visitors. This list may grow, or other areas may suddenly close if the storm is as bad as some prediction models indicate.
“The coming storms are forecast to bring high winds, damaging surf and heavy rain, with the potential for extensive erosion, road damage and tree failure,” said Olympic National Park Deputy Superintendent Lee Taylor. “We strongly urge people to stay indoors and avoid traveling this weekend.”
After the storm is over, there will be a little bit of a waiting period before the areas around the park open up. Park crews will have to first assess all damage to each region and then make any needed repairs. Roads and campgrounds will be re-opened when it is safe, but officials are reminding everyone to be patient, as this storm could be quite large and powerful.
The storm is here and now we have to wait to see what will happen. Stay safe, make good choices and we will catch you all on the other side of the inclement weather.