As a resident of the park for 38 years, who has been involved in overnight flood watch several times in the past, it seems reasonable to warn visitors coming to Yosemite Valley of a weather forecast advisory that could cause them to have to leave should the Merced River actually rise to levels that mandate evacuation.
It does not seem reasonable to close the Valley for a weekend and ask guests already here to leave just because the forecast seems unfavorable. A forecast is certainly not a guarantee that predicted weather will materialize, either in magnitude or timing. Closing Yosemite Valley for (at least) a weekend seems like a severe call on the part of park management.
A more reasonable action might be to advise visitors, monitor the situation and close only when conditions warrant. There is an automatic river level gauge at Pohono Bridge with internet output. Perhaps more are needed.
I wish the park had taken this alternate action. I know it’s difficult to do, but think the visitors deserve it. I spoke to the park superintendent, who can be reached at (209) 372-0201. He was reasonable and thoughtful. I hope the park’s approach to this vexing problem can be different next time.
Kent Summers, Yosemite National Park