Yosemite, waterfalls

Yosemite Waterfalls Flowing Again

Thursday, November 22 2012 08:41   Yosemite
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Yosemite Falls, Bridalveil Fall, and other waterfalls in Yosemite Valley in northern California are flowing again after a series of storms over the Nov. 17-18, 2012 weekend produced just under two inches of rain in Yosemite Valley.

Yosemite Falls, which has been dry for several months due to an exceptionally dry year, is flowing again for the first time since mid-July. Yosemite National Park recorded one of the driest years on record, and the driest winter since 2007.

yosemite_falls_kirtland12"To see Bridalveil Fall going so strong is such a beautiful sight," stated Don Neubacher, Yosemite National Park superintendent. "After such a dry period, seeing the waterfalls flowing again is spectacular."

Snow levels remained high over the weekend, at about the 8,000 foot level. The park experienced the most significant storm of the season so far, which helped saturate extremely dry soils.

The level of the Merced River, measured at the Happy Isles Gauging Station, had dipped to below four cubic feet per second (cfs) in October. This low level is very rare, and signified just how low the flow of Merced River had dropped. The storm system over the weekend has not had a huge effect on the level of the Merced River.

Tioga Road and Glacier Point Road within the park remain closed and will be assessed over the next few days. The park is expecting unsettled weather for the remainder of the week.

Yosemite Falls and Bridalveil Fall are two of the park's most famous waterfalls.

Yosemite Falls, elevation 2,425 feet, flows approximately November through July, with peak flow in May.

Look for the ice cone at the base of the upper fall during winter and for roaring runoff April through June. Yosemite Falls, one of the world's tallest, is actually made up of three separate falls: Upper Yosemite Fall (1,430 feet), the middle cascades (675 feet), and Lower Yosemite Fall (320 feet).

You can see Yosemite Falls from numerous places around Yosemite Valley, especially around Yosemite Village and Yosemite Lodge. A one-mile loop trail leads to the base of Lower Yosemite Fall (the eastern side of the loop, from the shuttle stop to the base of the waterfall, is wheelchair accessible).

Bridalveil Fall, elevation 620 feet, flows all year, with peak flow in May.

This is often the first waterfall visitors see when entering Yosemite Valley. In spring, it thunders; during the rest of the year, look for its characteristic light, swaying flow. You can see Bridalveil Fall from near the tunnels on the Wawona Road (Highway 41) or Big Oak Flat Road (Highway 120) and from a signed parking lot on your way into Yosemite Valley. You can
walk to the base via a short but steep (up to 24 percent slope) trail in just a few minutes.

For more information about Yosemite National Park, visit the Web site at
www.nps.gov/yose .

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