Flood Watch for Sunday-Monday Storm for Mammoth, Yosemite

Staff Writer

A massive atmospheric river storm arriving Saturday and lasting through Monday will likely trigger localized flooding both in Eastern Sierra communities in Mono County and, in Yosemite National Park along the Merced River.

The National Weather Service has posted a "Flood Watch" for the Eastern Sierra north of Toms Place and Yosemite National Park stated in a news release today that the park could close this weekend along the route in Yosemite Valley, where the Merced River is expected to rise far above flood stage.

The warm, wet storm will bring as much as ten inches of rain to some areas of the Sierra, with very high snow levels contributing to the potential damage possible due to flooding.

Here is the latest on Yosemite from the park: "Yosemite National Park is making preparations for visitor and employee safety in response to weather reports predicting significant precipitation, and possible flooding, over the next several days and through the weekend. The predictions for significant rainfall in Yosemite Valley, well above flood stage on the Merced River, could prompt the park to be closed in the next few days.

People planning trips to the park, beginning tomorrow, Thursday, Jan. 5, 2017, should make alternate plans if the park does close.

The park experienced a significant flood event in January 1997, which caused extensive damage to park roads, campgrounds, lodging, and utilities. The park was closed until March 1997 due to extensive damage to the park’s infrastructure.

During the closure, there was no running water and electricity was intermittent. Since the 1997 flood, the park has made significant improvements to park roads and facilities.

Yosemite National Park officials continue to monitor the weather forecast and will make decisions in the next day or two based on the forecast, and the ability of the park to safely accommodate visitors and employees.

For updated 24-hour road and weather conditions for Yosemite National Park, please call 209-372-0200 and press 1. Updated information is also available on the park’s website at www.nps.gov/yose