Yosemite national park has been forced to close permanently due to widespread snowfall that broke a 54-year-old daily record.
According to officials, recent record snowfall across the US west has dumped up to 15ft of snow in some areas, creating a once-in-a-generation event.
California has experienced an unusually heavy snowfall – more than 40ft since the start of the season – that entire towns have had to shut down. Due to the unusual precipitation, the governor has declared a state of emergency in 13 counties.
Yosemite National Park
Yosemite National Park has been closed for five days due to extreme weather and was originally scheduled to reopen on Thursday. However, officials still need an estimated date for reopening.
On Twitter, the Yosemite National Park reported “significant snowfall” throughout all areas of the park. Photos show snow blanketing Half Dome, blocking building doorways, and nearly burying tents.
On Tuesday, Yosemite National Park set a new daily snowfall record of 40 inches, surpassing its 1969 record set in 1969. Park crews are working to clear roads and restore “critical services” before visitors can return.
“We’re committed to opening the park as soon as it can be done safely,” Scott Gediman, a park spokesperson, informed the newspaper. “While we appreciate the snow, it has created some challenges.”
In recent months, the Sierra Nevada has experienced unprecedented snowfall and avalanches, making travel through the mountains nearly impossible. With another storm expected, the National Weather Service (NWS) is warning of “extensive travel impacts.”
“Stay tuned for travel delays and road closures across the Sierra, as well as into western Nevada,” according to a release from the NWS Reno office.
On Thursday, Joshua Tree National Park reopened after closing due to a winter storm the day before.
Dirt roads in the park remain closed, and officials cautioned visitors as water and ice may be present on the roadways.