Travelers who have reservations in the heart of Yosemite National Park this weekend won’t be able to get there. By 5 p.m. Friday, the park was to close roads and facilities in Yosemite Valley because of a winter storm predicted to hit Saturday that could bring flash floods and dangerous winter conditions.
That part of the park is expected to remain closed through Sunday, park officials said.
Storms have been pounding the Sierra, dropping 7 feet of snow atop Mammoth Mountain and 5 feet of snow in the Lake Tahoe area — with more to come.
Though the valley was sunny and clear Friday afternoon, guests at the Majestic Yosemite Hotel (formerly Ahwahnee), Yosemite Valley Lodge and other sites were asked to leave by 5 p.m. Campers and other visitors also were advised to vacate the park.
Hotel operator Aramark is contacting guests who have reservations this weekend to tell them about the closure. Anyone who has reservations can reschedule; call (888) 413-8869 for more information.
Main roadways inside the park will shut too. El Portal Road (Highway 140) will be closed at the park boundary; the Big Oak Flat Road (Highway 120) will close at the junction with Foresta.
Other areas are expected to be open, weather permitting. Wawona, on the south end and locations outside the park, will remain open. The Wawona Campground and Redwoods guest cottages will be open and accepting visitors.
Yosemite closed in 1997 when flooding from the Merced River caused major damage. The park remained closed for 2½ months during cleanup.