Highway 140 is closed from Bear Creek near Midpines to Foresta Road in El Portal until further notice. A 17-mile stretch of road now shut down as the storm continues.
As the road closure sign and barriers went up on Highway 140, drivers left the area but could not come back in while rain poured on Mariposa County. CHP says the shut down of stretch between Bear Creek and Foresta Road in El Portal is to prevent rockslides and mudslides.
“The rock slides are usually triggered from the mud slides and so there’s not one more dangerous than the other. It’s just they kind of go hand in hand,” said Officer Steven Cohout with the California Highway Patrol.
In downtown Mariposa, businesses are feeling the impact of the storm.
“And with it being raining, business is slow. Nobody wants to walk in the rain and stuff,” said Lex Radder who works at Brick Wall Boutique.
As the partial government shutdown continues and the Yosemite Park staff remains on furlough, there’s more than enough lodging available in Mariposa. At the Mother Lode, 15 of 17 rooms are vacant.
“I mean, there’s not much to do. We just kind of bank on the high point season, summer season, holidays being busy,” said Alyssa Leanos who works at the Mother Lode Lodge.
So a difficult dynamic of heavy rain and politics, hitting Mariposa County’s pockets and authorities say the Ferguson Fire’s burn scar on the mountainside of 140 doesn’t help.
“Whereas when the Detwiler Fire came through, it actually wasn’t that close to 140 at this particular spot so this area is already known for having rock slides and mud slides and so the burn scar is gonna make that more damaging,” said Officer Cohout.
Caltrans crews will clear debris and check the road before reopening to traffic.