A cold weather system dropped about 2 feet of snow in Yosemite in the past week and brought a dusting to the national park’s majestic valley.
An atmospheric river in the region swept over Yosemite National Park in Central California, leaving the mountains with a coating of snowflakes that lasted through Thursday, according to Brian Ochs, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Hanford.
The weather was forecast to be clear until another storm was predicted to roll in Friday with a 50% chance of snow, he said.
“Basically, we’re getting about a one week break of precipitation,” Ochs said.
The recent snow was enough to slow the opening of Badger Pass Ski Area for several hours on Thursday, but the recreation area opened to revelers midday, according to officials.
Anyone looking to visit the snow in Yosemite will need to remember a few items, parks officials stress.
Chains are required for most cars and the snowfall has been heavy enough that officials may soon require them for all vehicles.
A reservation is also required to drive into or through the park every weekend in February. That’s 24 hours a day in February on Saturdays, Sundays and President George Washington’s birthday on Monday, Feb. 19.
The requirements loosen, but some days still require reservations, after Feb. 26.
Natural Yosemite Firefall
February also marks the return of the natural Yosemite Firefall at Horsetail Falls.
If the region gets enough precipitation to send a significant amount of water over the fall, and with the sun at the right angle in February, the falls can take on an orange hue around sunset. The natural occurrence can draw crowds and photographers looking to take it in.
Parks officials recommend checking out the falls webcam online to see if the conditions are right before going — and don’t forget a reservation would be required.
Tioga Road, which is part of Highway 120 through the park, and Glacier Point Road have been closed for the season due to snowfall.
For the latest on road conditions and chain requirements, call 209-372-0200 and press 1, and then 1 again.