Lessons learned with snow on the mountain
by Harry Micka
In December, we experienced the most snow I have ever seen on Wolf Mountain and it was predicted to be one to two inches from the local weather forecasters in Chattanooga. The snow started on Saturday and didn’t stop until Monday morning and it was cold. When it finished coming down we had 13 to 16 inches of snow all over the mountain. Visitors were here to spend Christmas in their homes and folks that weren’t here yet wanted to come for the Holidays. Many of these people have never experienced this kind of weather before and didn’t know what to do.
The main lesson learned here, and it applies with any fresh snow fall, is that it is best to stay put or not come into the mountain until the roads are clear for travel. We had 13 inches of snow on the ground Monday and by Friday you didn’t know anything happened. Usually in a storm where we only have a few inches is gone the next day. The roads everywhere on this mountain are very dangerous when it snows. We understand that some people have 4 wheel drive and are experienced when it comes to driving in snow however mountain grades change the playing field a lot. You will see thawing during the day and think all is better unless there is a freeze during the night. In this latest storm in the morning we had small rivers of solid ice across the roads in many areas and even 4-wheel drive can’t negotiate those conditions on the mountain.
We are self-managed on this mountain and are not equipped to handle emergency situations in conditions like this. If you were to decide that you needed to get out and tried to do so, you put yourself at a very high risk for injury. Even emergency services would find it difficult to attend to your situation. The best rule of thumb is to stay put and wait for the all clear. If you have any means to access the internet we will try to post the conditions on our website as we have them or call numbers we can provide. The POA will not always have people that will step up to try and clear the roads as we did during this storm. We continue to try and find ways to keep the roads clear but it is very difficult to scrap them and can be dangerous. During this storm we tried to keep salt on the roads but that won’t always be the case and it doesn’t always work so use your best judgment in deciding how to move around in conditions such as these. Thank you and be safe when it snows on the mountain. Please pass this on to folks that may use your place and are unaware of these issues when it snows.