The Merced River flows under the Pohono Bridge on Jan. 8 in Yosemite National Park.

Yosemite officials In California are urging visitors planning to visit the park this weekend to make alternative travel plans as the entire central Sierra Nevada region is expecting to get hit hard by a storm, according to KFSN.

On Thursday (April 5), the National Park Service took the unusual step of announcing the Yosemite Valley will be closed to park visitors on Friday at 5 p.m.

Access to the Yosemite Valley is typically open to visitors 24-hours a day.

An atmospheric river is expected to drop 4 inches of rain in the foothills. There’s a possibility of mudslides and roads being taken out.

Forecasters say the Merced River at Pohono Bridge, at the entrance to the park, is expected to rise close to 15 feet. That’s well over the flood stage level of 10 feet.

All campgrounds and visitor lodging in Yosemite Valley will close Friday afternoon and reservations for Friday evening, April 6, and Saturday evening, April 7, have been canceled.

Access to Yosemite Valley will be closed along the Big Oak Flat Road (Highway 120) at the Foresta Road Junction, along with the Wawona Road (Highway 41) at Chinquapin, and along Highway 140 at the Park boundary in El Portal.

After the storm passes, the National Park Service says roadway and facility conditions in the park will be assessed and a timeline will be determined when Yosemite Valley will reopen to park visitors.

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