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Snowpack Creating Spectacular Waterfalls in Yosemite Valley

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Snowpack Creating Spectacular Waterfalls in Yosemite Valley

Postby ERIC » Fri May 05, 2006 8:24 pm

Heavy Snowpack Creating Spectacular Waterfalls in Yosemite Valley

By: Yosemite National Park
Published: May 3, 2006 at 08:47


With the snow levels at about 185% of normal in the Central Sierra Nevada, Yosemite Valley is seeing one of the most spectacular waterfall seasons in recent years. Yosemite Falls is booming high above Yosemite Valley and Bridalveil Fall is flowing at levels many Yosemite visitors have never seen.

"The recent warm weather and runoff is creating a spectacular display of Yosemite's waterfalls. The meadows are turning green and this is a great time to visit the park," stated Park Superintendent Mike Tollefson.

The loop trail at Lower Yosemite Falls affords park visitors the chance to see and experience the waterfall at full force. Visitors should be aware that they will get wet. However, it is truly invigorating and an opportunity to feel the tallest waterfall in North America. Tenaya Creek, in eastern Yosemite Valley, is also flowing rapidly yet the reflections of Mt. Watkins and Half Dome in Mirror Lake are truly inspiring and well worth the one mile walk from the shuttle bus stop.

All other visitor activities in Yosemite Valley such as bike rentals and Valley Floor Tours are open for the season. The restaurants and retail shops in the Valley are open as well. The Yosemite Visitor Center is open daily and there is a full range of interpretive programs available daily for park visitors.

Highway 140 into the park remains closed between the town of Mariposa and the park entrance. Caltrans continues to assess the road and will clear the road and open it as soon as it is safe. However, visitors can still enter the park via the south on Hwy. 41 and the west on Hwy. 120. All facilities in Yosemite Valley remain open.
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Postby yosemitechris » Sat May 06, 2006 5:36 pm

Whoopee! I will be going to Yosemite Valley 5/11 for 5 days. It's so dry here in NM that it is scary. I am anxious to see lotsa water. My left heel is still bad so I won't be able to do much hiking but I will bicycle and take short walks to the waterfalls and more, if I can.

Chris
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Postby Ozark Flip » Wed May 10, 2006 1:02 pm

The Merced River is projected to be at flood stage by Friday.
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Postby ifernau » Wed May 10, 2006 4:13 pm

Here are a couple of links you should look at before you go. Hwy 140 is closed indefinitly due to another rock slide.

http://www.nps.gov/yose/daily2.htm

http://www.nps.gov/yose/now/conditions.htm
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Postby copeg » Wed May 10, 2006 6:45 pm

Snow Melt Prompts Flood Concerns in Yosemite
May 10, 2006 - Those water storage concerns are growing as the snow pack melts. Crews in Yosemite are bracing for the possibility of flooding later this week.

This winter's snow is making the waterfalls especially beautiful, but park officials say by Friday, the snow melt could drive the water over the banks of the Merced River.
Parts of the park are already underwater.

"We're definitely going to see some high water again. With the gradual rising river levels, we know what to expect and know where the problem areas are," said park ranger Tom Medema.


Rangers don't expect the flooding to be anything compared to 1997. That's when water rose to the heights shown on the signs around the park.

Those floods caused millions of dollars in damage.
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Postby sierranomad » Thu May 11, 2006 12:02 am

I was in Yosemite a few days ago and traveled 140. The section that was closed then can be bypassed by taking Old Preist Grade Road.
Jon

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Postby Allyn » Thu May 11, 2006 6:06 am

Taken from the Yosemite Daily Newsletter, dated May 10th:

"
Hwy 140 Closure - CalTrans continues working the rockslide. The road has reopened with 1-way controlled traffic through the slide area. Please call the park road line at 372-0200 or CalTrans at 1-800-427-ROAD (7623) for the latest updates.

Hwy 120 - New Priest Grade reopened from the south jct of SR 49 to 2.5 mi west of Groveland at 2320 HRS ON 5/8/06. "
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Postby Ozark Flip » Thu May 11, 2006 7:19 am

You can now travel to the park on 140. Everything in the park is open and in full swing as well (tours, tour buses, shops,.....everything). :)
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Postby ifernau » Thu May 11, 2006 10:30 am

Taken from the Yosemite Daily report May 11:

Hwy 140 Closure - CalTrans continues working the rockslide. The road has been closed again. No estimate of reopening is available at this time. Arch Rock entrance station is open for entry into and out of the park to access the El Portal area. Please call the park road line at 209.372-0200 or CalTrans at 1-800-427-ROAD (7623) for the latest updates.

Hwy 120 - New Priest Grade reopened from the south jct of SR 49 to 2.5 mi west of Groveland at 2320 HRS ON 5/8/06.

HIGHER THAN NORMAL TEMPERATURES ACROSS CENTRAL CALIFORNIA ARE CAUSING A MORE RAPID MELTING OF THE SNOW PACK IN THE SOUTHERN

SIERRA...LEADING TO INCREASED WATER LEVELS IN AREA RIVERS AND STREAMS. WATER FROM THE MELTING SNOW IN THE HIGHER ELEVATIONS EACH AFTERNOON FLOWS DOWN THE UPPER MERCED RIVER AND CAUSES THE RIVER STAGE AT POHONO BRIDGE TO PEAK DURING THE LATE NIGHT HOURS.

THE RIVER IS EXPECTED TO CREST NEAR FLOOD STAGE OF 10 FEET BY FRIDAY MORNING. EVEN IF THE MERCED RIVER REMAINS BELOW FLOOD

STAGE...THERE ARE DANGERS POSED BY THE HIGHER RIVER LEVELS DUE TO THE FAST FLOWING COLD WATER.

FLOOD WATCH REMAINS IN EFFECT THROUGH FRIDAY MORNING.




Please make sure you call the numbers listed in the update BEFORE you travel to Yosemite!
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Postby SSSdave » Tue May 16, 2006 10:00 pm

Here's an amusing tidbit. I looked at the gauge for the Merced River at Happy Isles and noted peak flows May 15/16 of around 3400 cfs occur around midnight reflecting the delay of snow melted in its high country watershed having enough time to reach the valley. Conversely the least flows in this daily cycle occur mid afternoon showing about 2900 cfs. Of course that means one is going to see some variation in water levels along the edge of the water each day with highest levels visible early in the morning. Generally the graphs show levels have been slowly increasing all week.

I'm thinking about driving to the valley maybe Thursday at dawn for a couple days. Yeah more ga$ down the rathole. Not sure there is really enough there to interest me? The high water allows some interesting reflections in backwaters but image colors are rather limited with just greens, grays, whites, blacks, and blue sky. And the big falls really don't work well close up with large format because moving water blurs my slow shutter speeds and all the white water is so contrasty on film. Good for my Coolpix though. Nice time to get a 300mm of Bridalveil's rainbow from The Rockslides late afternoon. But then I might drive over to the Poopenaut area for wildflowers as harlequin and miniature lupine and goldfields might be coming out now?

...David
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Yosemite TR

Postby SSSdave » Fri May 19, 2006 1:22 pm

Just came back from a one-day road trip to the valley. I wanted to warm people that mosquitoes have just recently come out in the usual valley areas and are very h-u-n-g-r-e-y. Saw quite a lot of unprepared shorts and t-shirt types really getting dined on. Likely will be way worse in just a week. There are a lot of people in the valley for midweek with the constant noise of cars making it rather unpleasant most of the day. Of course the big water is the draw. Lots of tripods and photographers everywhere. This weekend will be a zoo and the following holiday weekend is likely to be painful gridlock. Due to the high temps, snow is surprisingly mostly melted back already at Crane Flat ~6k. Areas in the Merced Canyon below about 3.5k are quite brown while areas above 4.5k are still pretty green without flowers. The valley at 4k has just the first early wildflowers coming out though dogwoods are putting on a good show. Lots of flooded areas of course as the Merced is high especially early morning and before sunset when it peaks each day with early afternoon the null. ...David
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