Photos Show Yosemite National Park Flooded as Historic Snowpack Continues to Melt
Recent images from California’s Yosemite National Park reveal the dramatic extent of flooding caused by melting snow.
Rising temperatures have led to the thawing of a substantial Sierra Nevada snowpack, resulting in the Merced River overflowing its banks. The park noted that the river was “blissfully unconcerned with human inventions like roads and campgrounds.”
The winter and early spring months saw record snowpack accumulation in California, driven by intense storms. As this snowpack starts to melt with warming weather, water flows in the park have surged beyond average levels. This influx of water is a boon for the state, which has been grappling with drought.
Photographs depict a fully submerged walkway in the park’s Sentinel Meadow area, with a waterfall cascading in the background. Housekeeping Camp, situated on lower ground near the Merced River, appears significantly flooded. It is reportedly enduring “some of the worst flooding in the valley.”
Swinging Bridge, a popular viewpoint, is nearly entirely engulfed by the swollen river, leading to its temporary closure. Park authorities have cautioned visitors against attempting to cross it.
Despite a brief respite from flooding due to cooler weather last week, minor flooding persists in Yosemite Valley. Water levels are expected to peak in the coming nights and intermittent flooding is likely until early July. Campgrounds will remain shut until at least May 23.
Given the perilous nature of the fast-flowing rivers, the park has issued repeated safety advisories to its visitors. The statement urges visitors to respect the power of the water bodies, maintaining a safe distance from rivers, creeks, and waterfalls. Even if the water appears calm on the surface, it can be surprisingly swift, cold, and dangerous. Visitors are strongly discouraged from wading, swimming, or floating on any of the park’s rivers or creeks. All water-related recreational activities, including rafting, have been suspended due to the icy cold, incredibly powerful, and extremely hazardous conditions.