Incident: Winter Weather Update
March 7, 2023
Incoming Atmospheric River Weather Event Expected Thursday-Saturday: A strong Atmospheric River weather event is expected to arrive Thursday (03/09) evening. There are two main concerns with this storm:
• It will come with a lot of rain, which will soak into the already deep, heavy snowpack and make the snow on top of local roofs, propane lines and other facilities even heavier. The public is urged to take the next 48 hours to dig out propane tanks and lines and clear roofs as much as possible.
• It could trigger some community and street flooding when the rain hits drains and culverts blocked by snow and ice. In lower elevation areas where the snowpack is less than a foot deep, the rain could fully melt the snow, triggering some local flooding. Luckily, the area’s creeks and streams are not expected to reach flood stage, according to the Reno office of the National Weather Service, because most of the rain will be absorbed by the heavy snowpack.
Sandbags Being Staged; Will Release Location Information to Public Tomorrow: Mono County and Cal OES are staging sandbags for residents to use during the storm. The location information for these sandbags will be made available tomorrow on the READY Mono portal.
Power Restoration: Southern California Edison (SCE) has restored power to all of Mono County as of last night.
Incident Command Team Arrives Tomorrow: Mono County (in coordination with Inyo County) requested the highest level of emergency management Incident Command (IC) team to be assigned to the Eastern Sierra to manage the ongoing emergency. The decision to ask for the team was based on these reasons: the historic, deep snowpack; the fact it will take months (or longer) to fully recover from the winter’s storms; the fact there are still more storms in the forecast; and, because County staff and other resources are now fully tapped. The team is expected to arrive tomorrow. IC teams are typically assigned to the state and country’s largest fires or other large disasters. The team will be based in Bishop due to possible road closures in Mono County.
Caltrans and CAL FIRE Crews Helping With Snow Removal: CAL FIRE crews were providing snow removal in several communities today. The crews are assigned to communities and facilities based on need. The Caltrans crews and equipment that arrived earlier this week to help Mono County (procured from the state due to a declared State of Emergency) continued to do snow removal throughout the county. The plan is for them to be here for two weeks, working 24-hour shifts.
TEMPORARY SHELTERS/REDUCED INN RATES FOR EVACUEES
Warming Center: A Warming Center/Shelter has been set up in Bridgeport at Memorial Hall at 73 N School Street. The shelter is still serving three meals a day, and will remain open through the coming storm and into next week. Call (760) 924-4633 for more information.
Reduced Rates for Evacuees at The Carson Valley Inn: The Carson Valley Inn will be honoring a rate of $89 plus tax in the main hotel until March 31st for anyone displaced or without power. This is subject to availability. No pets. Call 1-800-321-6983 for reservations.
Winter Storm Watch: The NWS has issued a Winter Storm Watch starting Thursday, March 9 at 4 p.m. and lasting until Sunday at 11 a.m.
Flood Watch: The NWS has issued a Flood Watch from Thursday (03/09) at 4 p.m. until Sunday (03/12) at 11 a.m.
Mono County has declared a Local State of Emergency.
The Town of Mammoth Lakes has declared a Local State of Emergency.
Governor Newson has declared a State of Emergency for Mono County and several other counties impacted by the storm.
The county is pursuing a federal declaration of emergency.
An unsettled pattern of intermittent snow and sun is forecast to persist through Wednesday before an atmospheric river storm arrives Thursday night. The storm is forecast to bring 2-5 feet of heavy snow above 7,000, although snow levels could also rise as high as 9,000 feet during the warmer portions of the storm. Below 7,000 feet, the precipitation from this storm will be almost all rain. The Mammoth area could see up to 3 inches of rain; Bridgeport could see 1.5 inches of rain; Chalfant and the Tri-Valley area could see about 1 inch of rain. The heavy snowpack will absorb most of the rain, but flooding could occur in areas where the snowpack is under one foot deep. The peak precipitation rates will be Thursday night and into Friday. There is likely another storm in the forecast next week.
U.S. 395 is now open from the junction of U.S. 395 and S.R. 203 to Bishop and points south. The highway is open from the junction to Lee Vining but closed from Lee Vining to Bridgeport due to avalanches in the burned area above Mono Lake. The highway is open from Bridgeport north.
There is no estimated time for opening the section of U.S. 395 north of Lee Vining where a series of avalanches took out transmission facilities and crossed the road, burying sections of the road under 30-40 feet of snow and debris. However, due to improving weather conditions today, Caltrans was able to do avalanche control on the area and said very little snow was released, meaning the slopes are now stable enough to consider allowing workers on the site to begin to assess the damage and clear up. The best estimate is the road will be closed in that area for at least this week and into next week.
S.R. 167 from U.S. 395 to the Nevada state line is closed.
Benton Crossing Road is closed.
SCE was able to energize the Lundy Power Plant and get power to all remaining customers affected by the outages energized as of 9:30 p.m. Monday night (03/06).
Mono County Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/countyofmono
National Weather Service – Reno: https://www.weather.gov/reno
CHP Activity – Mono/Inyo Counties: https://cad.chp.ca.gov/Traffic.aspx
Easter Sierra Avalanche Center: https://www.esavalanche.org/
Mono County Webcams: https://www.monocounty.org/plan-your-trip/weather-and-road-conditions/webcams-in-mono-county/
Caltrans – Road Information: https://roads.dot.ca.gov/roadscell.php
(From READY Mono)