Floods threaten Yosemite National Park over Fourth of July weekend

Multiple rounds of atmospheric river storms slammed parts of California over the winter, dropping record amounts of snow in areas such as Yosemite.

YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK, Calif. – Another round of warm temperatures is expected to create more snowmelt in Yosemite National Park this Independence Day weekend, adding to already-gushing waterfalls and potentially flooding campgrounds.

The melted water comes from record snowpack that fell over the winter, when multiple rounds of atmospheric river storms slammed parts of California and dropped historic amounts of snow in areas such as Yosemite.

"We've had a year here in Yosemite," Yosemite National Park spokesperson Scott Gediman told FOX Weather’s Max Gorden. "Starting in December and January, we had the atmospheric rivers, rockfalls, rockslides, debris flow. So, it seems like it's been one thing after another."

According to National Park Service officials, two rounds of warm weather over the spring and summer have helped turn the record snowpack into record snowmelt. This has caused waterways to surge, leading to old waterfalls gushing from the cliffs and new waterfalls forming in the valley.


Officials are now expecting a third wave of warm weather this weekend, and they are bracing themselves and park visitors for even more snowmelt to come. Particularly, they are concerned about flooding in campgrounds and low-lying areas.  

Additional snowmelt this weekend is also expected to surge into the Merced River. Located in the western region of Yosemite, Merced River is already running high after the two waves of warm weather.

Because of dangers such as these, park officials are warning visitors to keep a safe distance from the rivers. The NPS has already conducted two high-water rescues this year.


Park officials noted that heavy snowpack has been responsible for damages to buildings, with further assessments needed for other infrastructure in Yosemite Valley.