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El Capitan in winter - photo by Susan Madden

Yosemite Road Closures Due To Winter Storm And Flash Flood Watch

YOSEMITE — The National Weather Service has issued a winter storm warning and flash flood watch for today, Thursday through Friday, Dec. 15, for the Yosemite region.

Flooding is forecast to occur on the Merced River in Yosemite Valley. Two to four inches of rain are forecasted today through Friday, with some areas receiving as much as six inches.

Heavy snow is predicted for the Sierra Mountains with as much as six feet along the crest. Rainfall during this storm will raise water levels in the Merced River over 14 ft., several feet above flood stage at the Pohono River Gauge.

Yosemite will implement road closures throughout Yosemite Valley, into and out of, beginning at 5 p.m. today, and they will last overnight. Visitors who are leaving the park today are urged to leave by 4 p.m. at the latest.

The scheduled roads closures are as follows:

  • Highway 140 from El Portal to Yosemite Valley will be closed at Park Line in El Portal.
  • Wawona Road (Highway 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/Highway 120 will be closed at the Foresta junction, no entrance to Yosemite Valley from Highway 120.

Roads will be reevaluated for re-opening tomorrow Friday, Dec. 16.

UPDATE FRIDAY DEC. 16 — All roads reopened at 9 a.m. Friday.

When traveling, be watchful of other hazards that could include mud and debris flow, falling trees, and rock fall. Fire burn scar areas may see elevated threat of debris flows during heavy rain as well.

For 24 hour road and weather information, please call (209)372-0200.

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Sierra News Online

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