WHAT’S THE DAMAGE?
On February 27th, an avalanche north of Lee Vining brought down a section of metal retaining fence and flooded Highway 395 with 30 to 40 feet of snow and debris. As of March 9th, Caltrans was able to do avalanche control on the area, determining that the slopes are stable enough to “consider allowing workers on the site to begin to assess the damage and clear up,” per the Ready Mono Report from March 8th. “The best estimate is the road will be closed in that area for at least this week into next week.”
The avalanche left many citizens in Mono County without power until March 6th. Mono City residents can still only access the outside world through Hawthorne.
The avalanche also left the Bridgeport post office unable to receive mail. Which includes property tax payments. As a result, the previously announced tax sale of various, tax-delinquent properties was canceled in order to show fairness to those who might be trying to pay their taxes at the last minute.
On March 1st, the Bridgeport NAPA auto parts store burst into flames. Mono County Sheriff Ingrid Braun said she did not know what caused the fire.
REMSA Care Flights remain grounded following a February 24th crash that killed 5 people. Brian Bullock – Mono County EMS Chief – said that they haven’t had any big calls yet due to recent storms, other than one rescue out of Twin Lakes near Bridgeport by helicopter.
Chris Mokracek, Director of Emergency Management for the county, has been holding daily meetings since Feb. 24th with stakeholders like Mammoth Mountain and Southern California Edison.
As of March 9th, a warming center in Bridgeport at Memorial Hall remains open and will continue serving three meals a day through the coming storm and into next week. The overnight shelter has since been closed now that power is restored.
Sandbags have been staged in each community to prepare for the upcoming atmospheric river weather event expected to last from Thursday to Sunday. Sandbag locations can be found at monocounty.ca.gov. In Bishop, sandbags can be found at the Bishop fire station.
The forecasted weather conditions, per the Ready Mono release from March 9th: “There will be 12-18 hours of heavy precipitation between Thursday evening and Friday, with the system slowly tapering off Saturday.”
Expect 2-5 ft. of heavy snow above 7,000 feet, with rain falling onto areas below 7,000 feet. Mammoth could see up to 5 inches of precipitation – 4 inches of which could be rain. Bridgeport could see 2 inches of rain. Chalfant and the Tri-Valley area could see one inch of rain. “The heavy snowpack is still expected to be able to absorb most of the rain,” states the report, “but flooding could occur in areas where the snowpack is under one foot deep and in areas where drains and culverts are blocked. There is likely another storm in the forecast next week, possibly another Atmospheric River, but it is too soon to know the details.”
Local State of Emergency’s have been declared in Mono County and the Town of Mammoth Lakes. Governor Newsom has declared a State of Emergency for Mono County. Mono County is pursuing a federal declaration of emergency.