- Associated Press - Friday, January 6, 2017

FRESNO, Calif. (AP) - The Latest on large storms headed to Central California (all times local):

12:40 p.m.

Officials say access to the valley floor of Yosemite National Park will be blocked to visitors due to the stormy weekend ahead that threatens flooding.

Yosemite National Park rangers said roads to the valley floor will close at 5 p.m. Friday. A Pacific storm is expected to deliver significant rain, peaking on Sunday.

Park spokeswoman Jamie Richards says that some areas of the park outside of the valley will remain open.

She says, however, that visitors should be aware of recent wet weather causing hazardous conditions, such as icy roads and falling debris.

Officials say that the closure is expected through at least Sunday.

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10:40 a.m.

Officials at Yosemite National Park say rangers are standing guard on the Merced River to watch for flooding as a large storm heads to California.

Yosemite spokeswoman Jamie Richards said Friday that they’re urging park visitors to stay alert to changing weather conditions. She says, however, that the park remains open this weekend.

Forecasters with the National Weather Service say an atmospheric river is on course for Central California.

They expect up to a foot of rain in some places on the coast and heavy mountain snow above 9,000 feet.

A large storm in 1997 flooded Yosemite Valley, closing the park for two months, washing out roads, lodging and campgrounds.

Richards says she doesn’t expect damaging conditions like 1997; rangers will remain vigilant, possibly closing parts of the park.

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