Yosemite National Park rangers keeping an eye out for what could be the biggest storm in years

YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK (KFSN) -- UPDATE: Park officials have asked all non-essential residents of Yosemite Valley to evacuate, and the Red Cross set up an evacuation center.

Yosemite National Park brings in visitors from all over the world to see the mountains, and, if they are lucky, the roaring rivers and waterfalls.

Sue Hobbs traveled all the way from England to see it all.

"The waterfalls are quite beautiful, actually, and took nice pictures at the start of the falls."

Recent rain and snow are to thank for the fuller rivers but park officials are hoping they won't see too much water with the upcoming weekend storms that could bring potential flooding.

Scott Gediman with the National Park Service said they are closely monitoring several gauges along the Merced River-- he said the river level is at about four feet.

Gediman said since their major flood around this time in 1997 they have made major improvements.

"We've shored up the road; we moved facilities away from the rover."

Besides flooding, Gediman said with water coming down there is a chance trees and rocks could too.

They do not plan to close the park completely, but roads leading into Yosemite Valley could be blocked off.

"The next couple of days are going to dictate what we're going to do about any road closures or hotel closures, things like that. As of now we're just monitoring the situation," said Gediman.

For now, the park is open and Hobbs is glad she made it in before the storm.

"Everywhere we've gone, we've been really lucky."

If you are headed to Yosemite, park officials ask that visitors bring chains for their cars and extra clothes and food.
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