Yosemite's El Capitan covered in snow

Massive California Snowstorm Closes Yosemite National Park

After spending December and January flooded by rainfall, California is now being slammed by snow. From Southern California up to Lake Tahoe, the entire state saw a least a sprinkling of fluffy white snow. Even Half Moon Bay's beaches were covered in white, and Napa woke up to an icy surprise.

However, areas that normally see some snow have been buried in layers upon layers of snow as back-to-back storms roll in. Due to the extreme weather, Yosemite National Park is currently closed and will likely remain closed, depending on what the next storms bring. As of Tuesday, the park had 40 inches of snow on the ground, sailing past the valley's previous record of 36 inches in 1969.

The National Park Service closed the park Saturday morning as heavy snow fell. Visitors can see the whiteout conditions and snow-filled evergreen trees on the park's website. NPS wrote, "Yosemite has experienced significant snowfall in all areas of the park, resulting in snow depths up to 15 feet in some areas. Park crews are working to restore critical services so visitors can safely return. Unfortunately, there is no estimated date for reopening."

The park has been closed due to inclement weather once before. In February 2019, Yosemite shut its gates to visitors for four days due to heavy snowfall that made it impossible to drive in and out of the park.

According to the National Weather Service, additional snow is expected with the upcoming storms. The valley will have a brief reprieve midweek, allowing crews to work in the park. But the park is expected to be hit with high winds and low temperatures.

One bright spot for future travelers: As of the past weekend, reservations are no longer required to enter the park. The park put the measure in place to manage the heavy influx of traffic into the park as crowds flocked to see Firefall. The annual phenomenon only happens once a year, as the sun lights up the water at the top of Horsetail Fall.

Park visitors can check road conditions on Yosemite National Park Service's website. 

READ MORE: Geologists Discover Yosemite Valley's True Age is Younger Than Previous Estimates