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The park will stay closed through at least Tuesday

By Rachel DeSantis
January 22, 2021 01:51 PM
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Yosemite wind damage
Yosemite National Park
| Credit: Yosemite National Park/AP/Shutterstock

Yosemite National Park has been temporarily closed after heavy winds toppled its towering trees, crushing cars, bridges and buildings.

The 1,200-square-mile park inside California's Sierra Nevada Mountains will remain closed through at least Tuesday as crews work to assess damage, repair facilities and clear downed trees.

Photos shared by the park show massive trees having come down and crashed through vehicles and buildings, including employee homes. No injuries were reported.

A boardwalk and bathroom installed during a $40 million restoration in 2018 were among the facilities destroyed, park spokesman Scott Gediman told the Sacramento Bee.

Yosemite wind damage
Credit: Yosemite National Park/AP/Shutterstock

He added that at least two giant sequoias fell in the lower grove of Yosemite's Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias during the Mono Wind event, which can often see winds of 50-100 mph.

Mariposa Grove is home to many of the park's more than 500 massive, ancient giant sequoias. The area reopened in 2018 following a large-scale restoration effort.

High winds began in California on Monday and traveled throughout the state, causing about 300,000 homes and businesses to lose power, the Associated Press reported.

Yosemite wind damage
Yosemite National Park
| Credit: Yosemite National Park/AP/Shutterstock

Tens of thousands of customers had their power intentionally blacked out, too, so as to prevent fires sparked by damaged or downed electrical equipment.

When Yosemite does reopen, visitors will be able to enter using El Portal Road, Big Oak Flat Road and Hetch Hetchy Road. It'll still only be open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily, in keeping with the area's stay-at-home order, and lodging and campgrounds remained closed.

Areas south of Yosemite Valley, including Badger Pass, Wawona, Mariposa Grove, South Entrance and Wawona Road, will stay closed until further notice.