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High winds ahead of cold front and rain cause fires in Gatlinburg

High winds with gusts to 70 mph  ahead of the cold front that is moving into the Southeast caused forest fires in North Carolina and Tennessee to flare up, resulting in a panicked evacuation of Gatlinburg TN late in the evening on the 28th.  You can see pictures and video of the smoke and fire at http://www.knoxnews.com/story/news/local/tennessee/2016/11/28/rain-just-what-east-tennessee-firefighters-ordered/94535434/.

One of the most spectacular videos of the fires was provided by Matt Daniel of WMAZ in Macon GA showing the plumes of smoke from the fires ahead of the rain associated with the front at https://www.facebook.com/mattdanielweather/videos/1866940220193499/.  This is Matt’s message on Facebook:

Pray for Gatlinburg, TN tonight. This is the message transmitted at the request of the Sevier County Emergency Management Agency:

“The city of Gatlinburg and nearby communities are being evacuated due to wildfires. Nobody is allowed into the city at this time. If you are currently in Gatlinburg and are able to evacuate, evacuate immediately and follow any instructions from emergency officials. If you are not instructed to evacuate, please stay off the roads.”

Here is radar picking up the fire and smoke. Actual rain is on the left hand side of the radar loop. They are expected to see rain, but they are also going to see 50-60 mph wind gusts tonight. Scary situation.

A TV meteorologist also tweeted an observation from a weather station on the east side of Gatlinburg just before it was (presumably) destroyed by fire.

At 11:43 pm James Spann reported that TEMA stated: Currently 30 structures on fire in Gatlinburg, including 16-story hotel, Driftwood Apartments reported fully-involved…

 

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