High Precipitation Levels May Delay Spring Openings in Yosemite National Park

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Date: May 6, 2011

Incredible Year to See Yosemite’s Waterfalls

Yosemite National Park is currently seeing the effects of a very heavy winter snow. The May 1 snow survey, conducted by the California Department of Water Resources, reports the Merced River drainage at 199 percent of normal and the Tuolumne River drainage at 184 percent of normal. This is one of the heaviest snow falls in recent history.  

The heavy winter snow, combined with a wet spring, has presented challenges to the Yosemite Road Crews who are working to clear the Glacier Point Road and the Tioga Road. Although progress has been made on both roads, late openings should be expected, especially on the Tioga Road.  

The cables on Half Dome, used by hikers to ascend the summit of the granite monolith, have not been placed for the season. The cables will be erected when the Trail Crews have safe access to Half Dome and can perform the work. There is currently too much snow on Half Dome and the Subdome for the cables to be put in place. Therefore, it is doubtful that the cables will be ready for use by the Memorial Day weekend.  

Yosemite’s waterfalls are spectacular, and the park is currently seeing near peak conditions. Due to the large amount of snow still in the high-country, the waterfalls are expected to last longer into the summer season than normal.

Visitors within the park should be aware of high water level and fast moving water in the Merced River and other streams. With the increasingly warm weather, snow in the high-country continues to melt and fill the Merced River. Extreme caution is important when in proximity to any moving water.  

Visitors are urged to drive slowly within the park. With the warmer weather, animals are more active and are prevalent along the roadways.

Last updated: March 1, 2015

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