Yosemite National Park authorities have announced that three of its popular campsites will be temporarily closed indefinitely from May 15th due to the risk of flooding caused by the melting of snow and rising temperatures in the Sierra Nevada mountains.
The park’s Lower Pines Campground, North Pines Campground, and Housekeeping Camp are being closed as recent heat waves and temperature increases have increased the risk of flash floods. The park officials have issued a flood warning and are taking precautionary measures to ensure the safety of visitors.
The National Weather Service has issued a flood warning for the region until at least May 19th.
The ongoing hot and dry weather has caused the water levels of the Merced River to fluctuate dangerously, according to park officials. The authorities plan to provide updates on the closure of the campsites through a dedicated website, starting from May 15th evening.
Last month, the park authorities had temporarily banned access to the famous Yosemite Valley in the eastern region due to the risk of flooding, but fortunately, it didn’t occur.
Last year, a heavy snowfall in the mountains had raised concerns about the potential for massive flooding as it melted rapidly in the unseasonable heat. Although a flood occurred in the agricultural area of San Joaquin Canyon due to a storm, there have been no reports of large-scale flooding caused by melting snow in the mountains.
Despite high temperatures in April, the snowpack on the mountainsides has been melting at a slow pace compared to previous years, according to the Department of Water Resources. The reason is the low temperatures and cloudy weather in early May, which prevented snow from melting.