The National Weather Service issued a flood warning shortly before 11 p.m. Thursday for Mariposa, Tuolumne, and Madera counties as a lighter amount of precipitation in the afternoon began to strengthen, threatening to push already swollen rivers and streams past their breaking point.
Visitors to Yosemite National Park were also advised to delay their planned trips to noon on Friday as weather conditions remain unpredictable.
Kevin Lynott, a meteorologist with the NWS office in Hanford, said everyone near small streams, particularly at higher elevations, should keep an eye out and be prepared to move to higher ground if flooding does occur.
“It’s not going to take much water for things to spill over again, and for levies to be pressured again, like we’ve seen over the last week or so,” Lynott said. “Water levels are going to rise. It’s a serious situation.”
Some locations that could experience flooding include Bootjack, Mariposa, Catheys Valley, Metcalf Gap, Batterson, Lake McClure, Jerseydale and Ahwahnee, Lynott said.
Lynott said throughout the day, as much of an inch of rain had fallen in portions of Madera and Mariposa counties. The warning would last until 10:45 a.m. Friday, Lynott said.
Along with the flood warning, officials from Yosemite National Park said overnight storm activity could result in water and debris spilling onto roadways in the park.
El Portal Road (Highway 140), Wawona Road (Highway 41), and Big Oak Flat Road (Highway 120) are open to vehicle traffic, but officials said temporary road closures could go into effect at any time to keep visitors safe.
Everyone, whether visiting Yosemite or simply traveling through the Mountain Area, is advised to drive with caution.
For updated road conditions in Yosemite National Park, dial (209) 372-0200 and press 1. For updated highway conditions, dial 1-800-427-7623, or visit quickmap.dot.ca.gov.
The latest flood warning follows a week characterized by torrential rainfall that sent yurts crashing into bridges, damaged an apartment complex in Oakhurst, and forced mandatory evacuations in North Fork as Pacific Gas and Electric Company instituted its emergency action plan to increase flows at Bass Lake as it rose above normal levels.
Lynott said Thursday’s storm was forecast to last into Friday evening before high pressure moves in and leaves clear skies the rest of the weekend.
For updated forecasts, click here.