YOSEMITE — It’s been an extremely busy week in Yosemite due to massive damage caused by powerful Mono Winds (reported gusts up to 80 mph) last Monday night. Fortunately, no injuries were reported.
The park has been closed to all visitors while repairs and cleanup work are being done. Expected reopening is this coming Tuesday – for day-use only (8 a.m. – 5 p.m.) These limited hours are due to ongoing regional COVID-19 health restrictions.
There have been widespread power outages in the park and throughout large areas of the Sierra foothills. These are the result of both wind damage and PG&E’s Public Safety Power Shutoffs, intended to help prevent wildfires caused by downed or damaged power lines.
The winds knocked down numerous trees in the park, including two giant Sequoias in the famed Mariposa Grove. Yosemite’s Wawona community was apparently the hardest hit by the wind damage. The south entrance to the park (Highway 41), the Mariposa Grove, and the Wawona Road, including access to the popular Tunnel View overlook above Yosemite Valley, will remain closed to visitors indefinitely.
A series of strong winter storms is forecast for Yosemite this coming week, so access to the park may have additional restrictions even after the planned reopening on Tuesday.
For those hoping to drive into the park, please come properly prepared. Snow tires and/or chains are required for your vehicle. Four-wheel drive is helpful, too. Be sure to check current road conditions before attempting to enter the park by calling 209-372-0200 (press 1, then 1), or online here.
Vehicles without required equipment may be denied entry at park entrance gates.
©2018 Photography by Scott Highton
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