Yosemite transformed by El Niño as snow falls and the drought recedes, at least for now

A year ago, the talk of Yosemite National Park was how California's historic drought was dramatically changing the landscape

The depth of the snowpack that supplies the Merced River was less than 12% of normal, an unprecedented low that was causing small streams to dwindle and flowers and plants to bloom early. Snow was in short supply, except for at the highest elevations. The Yosemite Valley typically gets 37 inches of rain; but last year, it got half that. The year before, there had been a massive wildfire in the area.

But a series of winter and spring storms over the last few months has had a major impact on Yosemite. Waterfalls and streams are roaring back, and snow is easy to find. Near-average snowpack conditions in Yosemite and elsewhere in the Sierra Nevada have brought cheers -- and provided a boost for the drought-challenged state. Here are some photos showing the Yosemite transformation:

See the most-read stories this hour >>




El Niño: Preparing now for disasters later

Dramatic before & after images: How El Niño transformed the California landscape

California's largest reservoir filling too fast thanks to El Niño, must release more water

UPDATED 9:25 a.m.: Updated with additional photos of snow at Yosemite.