Inyo National Forest warns of avalanche and flooding hazards
BISHOP, Calif., March 9, 2023 — With the incoming atmospheric river compounding previous snowpack from recent storms, officials are warning there will be exceptionally dangerous conditions within and around the Inyo National Forest this weekend and beyond.
According to the National Weather Service, there will be severe weather impacts at all elevations:
- Below 7,000 feet: heavy rain through Saturday can cause flooding, potentially causing roads to become impassable.
- 7,000 – 8,500 feet: snow load and flood impacts possible for mountain communities.
- Above 8,500 feet: multiple feet of dense, heavy, and wet Sierra snow could result in further avalanche danger and snow loading impacts.
- Strong winds at all elevations could reach over 50-60 MPH, which may result in power disruptions.
National Weather Service simulations are also indicating another warm, wet storm for next week on the heels of this first one, which means there won’t be much of a break. Once this starts tonight, plan on the wet, windy weather to persist through possibly mid next week, bringing along with it elevated flood dangers.
Stay tuned to the weather forecasts by checking the National Weather Service (NWS) websites, and following them on social media:
- NWS Reno (for Mono County): https://www.weather.gov/rev/
- NWS Las Vegas (for Inyo County): https://www.weather.gov/vef/
Then there’s the increasing level of danger for avalanches.
The Eastern Sierra Avalanche Center (ESAC) is recommending against traveling in avalanche terrain by late Thursday afternoon when heavy snowfall, gale-force winds, and rain on snow will cause the avalanche danger to rise rapidly.
“Avalanche conditions will continue to deteriorate overnight and into Friday,” said Steve Mace, ESAC Director. “Please check the daily forecast on our website to educate yourself and assess the level of risk before heading up here.”
Check the ESAC Daily forecast here: https://www.esavalanche.org/
Inyo National Forest officials would also reminds visitors that recreating in avalanche terrain can result in property damage, injury or even death.
The California Office of Emergency Services (CalOES) staff have arrived in Bishop to help support storm response efforts in the Eastern Sierra region. Information from the Emergency Operations Center will be posted on the Inyo County Sheriffs Office Facebook page and shared with local media.
- Inyo County Office of Emergency Services: https://ready.inyocounty.us.
- Mono County Office of Emergency Management: https://ready.mono.ca.gov/
- For road conditions, visit the CalTrans website: https://quickmap.dot.ca.gov/. Follow CalTrans District 9 on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
Lastly, our own U.S. Forest Service staff and partners have been affected by these weather events. Please be patient as we assess our ability to keep visitor centers and offices open or maintain groomed snowmobile trails. Offices can close at any time without warning, so call and check before you go:
- Mammoth Lakes Welcome Center: (760) 924-5500
- Eastern Sierra Visitor Center: (760) 876-6200
- Inyo National Forest Supervisor’s Office: 760-873-2400
(From Inyo National Forest)