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Yosemite reopens after flooding from California deluge

April 8, 2018

Kevin Kimo Laughlin, a maintenance worker for Aramark, wades back to dry ground as the Merced River rises due to rain in Yosemite National Park's Yosemite Valley on Saturday, April 7, 2018. Northern California was drenched by a powerful "Pineapple Express" storm, but no major problems were reported after the heaviest rain from the "atmospheric river" of subtropical moisture moved through late Friday. (Eric Paul Zamora/The Fresno Bee via AP)

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — 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 centimeters) 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 meters) 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 meters) 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 meters) — 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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