Yosemite, CA – Yosemite National Park will be closing all roadways into Yosemite Valley at 5 p.m. due to the potential for flooding along the Merced River.
Park officials say with a winter storm warning and flash flood watch in effect for Thursday through Friday there is a real potential for flooding. Additionally, heavy snow, including nearly six feet along the crest, is anticipated for the Sierra Mountains. Park spokesperson Scott Gediman adds that the National Weather Service has forecast two to four inches of rain and in some areas up to six inches raising the Merced River over 14 feet, which is several feet above flood stage at the Pohono River Gauge. He stresses there are no evacuation orders but says, “We have told folks that are coming in today to not come in and the concessioner has reached out to those folks and they are not accepting any new reservations…folks that are in the park there is no concern except for the roadways.”
Visitors who are leaving the park today are being urged to leave by 4 p.m. at the latest. Yosemite provided the following scheduled roads closures:
- HWY 140 from El Portal to Yosemite Valley will be closed at Park Line in El Portal.
- Wawona Road (HWY 41 North) from Wawona to Yosemite Valley will be closed at Chinquapin (access to Yosemite West provided)
- Northside drive exiting Yosemite Valley will be closed at Yosemite Valley Lodge for outbound traffic
- Big Oak Flat Road/HWY 120 will be closed at the Foresta junction, no entrance to Yosemite Valley from highway 120.
Gediman notes that crews will reassess the roadways on Friday regarding flooding and damage before any decision to reopen them to travelers is made.