Cooks Meadow and its pedestrian trail underwater. Photo: National Park Service.
A strong Pacific storm that swept through California left Yosemite National Park with “significant impacts,” including flooded roads, campgrounds and meadows, the National Park Service reported Saturday night.
“There’s just water pouring out of every little crevasse,” Jamie Richards, a Yosemite National Park spokeswoman, told the Fresno Bee. “We are seeing hundreds of ephemeral falls … and we are only seeing water flowing through those areas because there’s such a great volume of water coming down from the high country and dropping into Yosemite Valley.”
After 2 1/2 inches of rain, the Merced River was reported to have risen to 13.6 feet at Pohono Bridge, well above the 10-foot flood level at which park roads and utilities are affected, the Bee reported.
The river’s water levels were expected to rise to over 15 feet before its anticipated drop by Sunday afternoon.
The National Park Service released photos Saturday night of Cooks Meadow and its pedestrian trail in Yosemite Valley underwater (above). It also showed the Swinging Bridge footpath across the Merced River in Yosemite Valley underwater (below).
Swinging Bridge footpath across Merced River in Yosemite Valley underwater. Photo: National Park Service.
The valley was closed all day Saturday. The Bee reported that the Housekeeping Camp, and some campsites in Lower and North Pines also experienced flooding.
“Impacts included 2 to 4 feet of water on roads within Yosemite Valley, impacts to the electrical system, and impacts to water systems,” said a media release from the National Park Service.
“As water levels recede, the park will assess conditions throughout [Saturday] evening and into [Sunday] morning. If conditions permit, all roads leading into Yosemite Valley and all roads in Yosemite Valley will open tomorrow, Sunday April 8, at noon.”
Several roads were closed due to flooding. Photo: National Park Service.
Wrote the Bee: “The rainfall is courtesy of a warm subtropical storm from the Pacific, unusual for this time of year. The same type of storm hit Yosemite Valley the last time it closed due to flooding, Richards said, in January of 2017. At that time, the Merced River peaked at 12.7 feet, swamping some meadows, Housekeeping Camp and Half Dome Village (formerly Curry Village).
“Saturday’s flood level was well below the crest of more than 23 feet that occurred in 1997.”