The Tallest Waterfall in North America Is Flowing Again — Watch a Storm Bring It Back to Life
The tallest waterfall in North America is flowing again in California's Yosemite National Park after a recent storm brought much-needed rainfall to the drought-stricken area.
Water has started to flow again at Yosemite Falls this week after video showed the falls nearly dry on Saturday, The New York Times reported. By Thursday, water could be seen flowing in force on a webcam of the falls, which the National Park Service said sits 2,425 feet above the valley floor.
"We had quite a storm, with over six inches of rain in Yosemite Valley over the past 36 hours," the NPS wrote on Instagram, adding snow level for much of the storm was high, "causing rivers and creeks to rise substantially."
"We don't have any direct measurements, but sensors suggest a few feet of snow fell at the higher elevations," the NPS added.
The NPS says fall tends to bring "cooler, wetter weather." But Brian Ochs, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service, told the Times the heavy rainfall (the result of two storms that converged) is a "rare event," and the newly gushing water may be attributed — at least in part — to how dry the soil has been.
"The dry soil may have been less likely to absorb the water," Ochs added.
Peak flow for the falls typically occurs in May after most of the park's snow melts, the paper noted. By August, the falls are typically drying up.
"It was great to see so much water back... not only Yosemite Falls, but our region's rivers and streams too," Tony McDaniel, a spokesman for the Yosemite Mariposa County Tourism Bureau, told the Times. "The rain was very welcomed, and to see Yosemite not only bursting with fall colors, but also rushing water again, is a beautiful sight to see, and I think everyone in the region is happy for it."
So far this year, California has experienced one of the hottest summers on record, beset by wildfires and drought. The lack of water got so bad that one coastal California town even begged tourists to conserve, closing off hotel lobby bathrooms to help the effort.
Alison Fox is a contributing writer for Travel + Leisure. When she's not in New York City, she likes to spend her time at the beach or exploring new destinations and hopes to visit every country in the world. Follow her adventures on Instagram.