Yosemite National Park, blanketed by snow, is closed temporarily
Yosemite National Park — no stranger to snow — saw up to 15 feet of it, forcing an indefinite closure as park crews work to restore critical services.
The park, which is located in the Sierra Nevada in central California, was not immune to the rare, heavy winter storms that walloped the West Coast last week. The Yosemite Valley measured 40 inches of snow on Tuesday — surpassing the previous record of 36 inches set in 1969, the Los Angeles Times reported.
On Saturday, the park announced it would be closed due to severe weather through March 1. But after seeing record snow, park officials decided to extend the closing, adding that it was not yet safe for visitors to return. There is still no estimated date when it will be reopened.
A winter storm warning is in effect for the Sierra Nevada, mainly in elevations above 3,000 feet, until Monday. The National Weather Service forecasts additional 1 to 3 feet of snow may accumulate with wind speeds up to 70 mph.
The Sierra Nevada area had already amassed several feet of snow in January, with 181 inches falling in Tuolumne Meadows, a large, high-elevation expanse, popular for scenic views, hiking and ranger programs.
In July, parts of Yosemite National Park, including the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias and the Wawona Campground, were closed for several days due to a weekslong wildfire that burned over 4,000 acres.