ASHEVILLE, N.C. (AP) - The National Park Service says parts of the Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina and U.S. 441 through Great Smoky Mountains National Park have been closed because of heavy snow predictions.

The Charlotte Observer reports the agency announced the closures Monday citing hazardous traveling conditions and strong wind gusts that could knock down branches and powerlines.

The agency says most of the parkway is forecast to receive anywhere from a dusting to more than 12 inches (30 centimeters) of snow Monday through Tuesday morning.

The paper says snowfall started sticking along the North Carolina-Tennessee border about 7 a.m. Monday.

A winter storm warning and wind advisory were issued for western North Carolina through 7 a.m. Tuesday, with temperatures expected to fall to 28 degrees (-2 Celsius) Monday night.

Information from: The Charlotte Observer, http://www.charlotteobserver.com

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