Yosemite reopens after flooding from California deluge

In this Saturday, April 7, 2018, photo released by the National Park Service, roads in Yosemite Valley have been impacted by high water in Yosemite, Calif. Sections of Northside Drive, Southside Drive, and Sentinel Drive remain closed due to high water in the roadway. Parts of Yosemite National Park remained closed as the Merced River peaked several feet above flood stage through the Yosemite Valley. (National Park Service via AP)

SAN FRANCISCO - Yosemite National Park reopened Sunday after flooding that washed out roads during a strong Pacific storm, park officials said.

Forecasters said up to 6 inches (15 centimetres) of rain fell over two days as rivers swelled in Northern California.

Roads within Yosemite Valley were swamped by up to 4 feet (1.2 metres) of water that affected electrical and water systems. Most facilities reopened at midday, but officials warned that traffic could be slow as cleanup work continues.

The area was closed Friday as a powerful "Pineapple Express" storm moved through. The heaviest rain was in the northern Sierra and in coastal counties from San Francisco north to Mendocino during a 48-hour period ending Saturday afternoon.

Flooding was also reported along the Truckee River near Lake Tahoe.

Further north, water flows into Lake Oroville following the deluge were not enough to require opening the partially rebuilt spillway at the troubled dam there, officials said.

The lake level stayed below 800 feet (244 metres) and inflows were tapering off, the California Department of Water Resources said. Officials said last week they would use the main spillway if the water level reaches 830 feet (253 metres) — but they hoped to avoid it.

The spillway was destroyed last year during a crisis that forced the evacuation of downstream towns amid fears of catastrophic flooding. About a third of it has been fully rebuilt with reinforced structural concrete but the rest has temporary repairs.

State officials said it's safe to use if needed.


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