Environment & Science

Yosemite National Park braces for possible closure as storm closes in

Visitors hike the Vernal Fall trail in Yosemite National Park, California. Yosemite is among California's biggest tourist destinaitons.
Visitors hike the Vernal Fall trail in Yosemite National Park, California. Yosemite is among California's biggest tourist destinaitons.
Sean Gallup/Getty Images

A heads-up if you’re planning a trip to Yosemite National Park this weekend: Park officials say they’re actively monitoring a storm that could cause flooding in the park.

The decision depends on the water levels in the Merced River, which runs through the Yosemite Valley. If the water reaches 10 feet, the park will see closures.

Jamie Richards, spokesperson with Yosemite National Park, says so far water levels are nowhere near the 10-foot threshold, and there are no closures planned as of Thursday afternoon.

The last time the park closed due to floods was in January 1997.

“It was closed from the flood itself until March of '97,” Richards said. “It took us about 3 months to clean up the infrastructure and get the park operational again.”

Richards says there are differences between this latest storm system and the one that struck in 1997, and the coming system continues to change rapidly. But the similarities are enough for park officials to keep an eye out in the coming days.

The park will notify the public if any closures occur. You can monitor their decision on their website or follow them on Twitter for more info.