Yosemite National Park closed amid record-breaking snow

A symbol of the American wilderness, Yosemite National Park has seen plenty of snow in its 133-year history. But the snowdrifts that have piled up there this week have been extreme, and they have kept the park closed for five days and counting.

The storms that have hit the area over the past week or so have coincided with unseasonably cold weather, causing precipitation to fall as snow rather than rain Yosemite Valley.

“One by one they came,” said Jim Bagnall, a forecaster at the Weather Service’s office in nearby Hanford, California.

In a sign of extreme weather, the Yosemite Valley floor recorded 40 inches of snow Tuesday, surpassing the 36 inches recorded there on the same day in 1969.

About seven miles long, the valley sits at an elevation of almost 4,000 feet. Mr Bagnall said the greatest snow depth on record – 60 inches – was in 1907, a year after snow cover began being recorded there.

Yosemite National Park was closed last week and was scheduled to reopen on Thursday. But as of Wednesday night, park officials had pushed back that reopening date and hadn’t committed to a new one. were snowdrifts up to 15 meters deep In some areas, crews worked to restore essential services.

Roads have also been closed in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada, the mountain range that contains Yosemite, in recent days, bothering residents in communities like Oakhurst and Mariposa, Mr Bagnall said.

The National Park Service did not respond to a request for comment Wednesday night.

Record snowfall in Yosemite is the latest extreme rainfall to hit California this winter — flooding that has led to repeated episodes of flooding, power outages and evacuations.

Among the weather records set: Los Angeles International Airport received a record amount of rain and Los Angeles County issued its first snowstorm warning since February 4, 1989.

As of Wednesday night, more than 18 million people in a large north-south band of California were among a freeze Warning. And more snow was forecast for the weekend, including up to two feet in the Yosemite area.

Some roads and popular hiking routes were already closed due to snow or ice — including portions of the John Muir Trail, named after a monumental figure in American environmentalism whose writing and advocacy inspired Congress Laying out the park in 1890.

Muir himself was no stranger to Snow. On a 1903 camping trip with President Theodore Roosevelt in the park, five inches fell and the commander-in-chief “rose to white flakes on his blankets.” according to the National Park Service.

Decades earlier, during one of his trips to Northern California’s Mount Shasta, Muir had eloquently written of snow falling with “undiminished waste.”

“Its evolution was supremely gentle – the deliberate growth of cumulus clouds beneath, the weaving of translucent fabric over it, then the rush of wind, the crackle of thunder, and the darkening flight of snow flowers.” he wrote in 1877.

“Its disintegration was no less sudden – the clouds broke up and vanished, not a snowflake remained in the sky, and the stars shone with pure and calm brilliance.”

https://www.nytimes.com/2023/03/02/us/yosemite-national-park-closed-snow.html Yosemite National Park closed amid record-breaking snow


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