GRANDFATHER MOUNTAIN, N.C. -- Park officials at Grandfather Mountain were forced to turn away visitors Tuesday due to bitterly cold temperatures.
Early Tuesday morning, temperatures reached -17 degrees, with winds reaching up to 80 mph. It created wind chills nearing 60 below zero.
"It's 58 below zero wind-chill," said Harris Prevost, vice president of operations at Grandfather Mountain.
The coldest spot was perhaps the park's most popular attraction: a swinging bridge connecting two mountain peaks, hanging a mile above sea level.
Most park employees were told to stay home. Tourists were surprised to see the gates closed leading up to the park.
"The mountains and the cold go together pretty well," said Thomas Demattia of Cary.
Park officials expect gates to reopen Wednesday.