Mariposa & Yosemite

Planning a trip to Yosemite this weekend? You may want to rethink that

This is how Marines train for warfare in icy, snowy conditions northeast of Yosemite National Park

U.S. Marines extricate themselves from a hole in the ice on a lake in winter and mountainous warfare skills training.
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U.S. Marines extricate themselves from a hole in the ice on a lake in winter and mountainous warfare skills training.

The government has temporarily reopened and Yosemite National Park is working to return to normal operations, however, National Weather Service officials advised against a trip to the park this weekend due to an approaching storm.

David Spector, meteorologist for the National Weather Service Hanford, said eastern Madera County and Mariposa County can each expect about one to two inches of rain on between Friday night and Saturday morning. Rainfall is expected to be a little stronger inside the park, with a forecast of two to three inches.

Areas above 6,000 feet can expect snow during the storm.

As has been the case with storms in the mountain area this season, the prolonged rainfall could cause flash flooding and falling debris in the areas near the Ferguson Fire burn scar.

“I know there’s a lot of people--because of the government reopening--that really want to get up to (Yosemite National Park). They should probably refrain from doing so,” Spector said. “There’s going to be bad weather and it’s going to be hazardous for cars to travel, there’s especially a concern for road flooding.”

Spector said his suggestion is partially dependent on the access to the southern entrance into Yosemite, which, as of Monday, remained limited. Yosemite National Park spokesman Scott Gediman said limits on the entrance were expected to be lifted in the coming days.

But until then, visitors without reservations are unable to enter Yosemite via Highway 41 between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. They are rerouted to Highway 140 or 120 during that time span.

Highway 140 passes through the Ferguson Fire burn scar and parts of it have been closed during each of the last three storms.

“There will be flooding concerns, especially around burn scar areas,” he said. “As for snow impacting roads, it’s kind of hard to tell this far in advance.”

While this storm will be tame compared to the others that have passed through the mountain area, it will still be “difficult,” Spector said.

For those that decide to make the drive to Yosemite, Caltrans posted on Facebook advising travelers to be prepared for any road or car troubles.

“Always pack an emergency bag for traveling, particularly during winter storms when weather can change quickly,” reads the post. “Carry extra food and water - don’t forget the pets going with you - batteries, cellphone charger, blankets and other material that will come in handy if you become stranded.”

Spector said the southern Sierra Nevada region could see another storm makes its way through on next Sunday night and Monday morning, but could not provide a forecast for rainfall on Monday due to the storm being a week away.