Yosemite Valley entrance to Yosemite National Park closed due to upcoming storm

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The fear of the Merced River overflowing from rain and flooding, like it did in 1997, has park staff more concerned about the safety of their guests. (KFSN)

In early December, Yosemite National Park closed off some roads into the valley floor because of the storms. Park officials said because this storm is going to be bigger, they've had to close off all roads leading into Yosemite Valley Friday night.

Two hours after Yosemite National Park announced it was closing its roads leading into the valley floor, Jansait Didan showed up with her brother from Dubai.

He has been visiting her in Fresno for the holidays and said she did not want the storm to prevent him from seeing the park before he left.

"We were planning to come here on the weekend," he said. "So, this is why we are making this quick trip."

But the Snowden's from Australia were not so lucky. They weren't able to make it up in time.

"It's unfortunate that we can't get into the park," David said. "It was part of the US we had never been to, finding something else to see."

"It's a bummer that the storm had to come and ruin that opportunity, but it happens," his wife Grace added.

Neither did Christian Lemus and his friends, who wanted to experience an adventure.

"We were kind of hoping to explore for the most part all day tomorrow but now that obviously won't get to happen," Lemus said.

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Park officials say because this storm is going to be bigger, they've had to close off all roads leading into Yosemite Valley.


In preparation for a big storm, some roads leading into the scenic views of the park are now closed. The loop around the valley floor is how visitors access hotels, cabins and visitors centers - not to mention hikes and scenic views.

But the fear of the Merced River overflowing from rain and flooding, like it did in 1997, has park staff more concerned about the safety of their guests.

"This is not a decision that we're making lightly," Scott Gediman with the park said. "We understand that people have literally come from around the world to come to Yosemite and we're impacting people."

While it's unlikely this storm will cause a disastrous flood like 1997, officials say water could go over the roadways and there could be impacts to the electrical and sewage systems.

The closure has some businesses on edge.

"This is our slow season," Janet Dandy with Yosemite Southgate said. "So, the big impact isn't as severe as it could be, but every little bit helps during the winter because we're all fighting for the business."

However, they are thankful it did not happen last weekend when all rooms were booked.

"If it had to hit, this is a much better time because of the fewer reservations we've gotten," she said.

Despite major changes impacting those wanting to visit one of the most popular national parks in the world, the Oakhurst Visitors Center is encouraging disappointed travelers to stay.

"Please don't be concerned about Yosemite being closed," Therese Williams explained. "Wawona will be opened the redwoods and all of Oakhurst itself."

Officials said they're going to be reassessing their closures on Monday after the storm has passed to make sure that there isn't any damage and safe for tourists to go to the valley floor.

Related Topics:
yosemite national parkevacuationstormYosemite Lakes Park
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