Incident: Winter Weather Update
March 4, 2023, 8:30 pm.
Cold, Windy, Snowstorm Expected to Continue into Monday: A major winter storm is howling throughout much of Mono County tonight, bringing heavy snow, whiteout conditions, and extremely cold temperatures. This is a dangerous storm; the public should not travel unless absolutely necessary.
Power Restoration: Power was restored earlier today to Mono City, southern Bridgeport, the Conway Ranch area, and all properties along the U.S. 395 corridor from just north of Lee Vining (Lee Vining never lost power), following an intensive effort by Caltrans, Southern California Edison (SCE), Mono County, and others to get the Lundy Canyon power plant up and running.
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 and is serving about ten people a night, as well as three meals a day. 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.
The National Weather Service issued a Winter Storm Warning for the current storm from 2 pm. Saturday, March 4 to 4 am Monday, March 6.
The Town of Mammoth Lakes has declared a Local State of Emergency.
California Governor Gavin Newson has declared a state ‘State of Emergency’ for Mono County and several other counties impacted by the storm. The county is pursuing a federal declaration of emergency as well.
The current storm is forecast to intensify into the overnight hours tonight then moderate for a few hours, and then intensify again Sunday morning before slowly weakening throughout the day and exiting the region Monday. There will be periods of moderate to heavy snow throughout the remainder of the storm, with total snow accumulations of 6 to 12 inches below 7,000 feet elevation and up to 2 feet above 7,000 feet. Winds could gust as high as 50 mph, with up to 100 mph along the Sierra crest. This storm will be very cold, with temperatures in the teens and single digits overnight and the teens and 20s during the day.
U.S. 395 is closed from the junction with S.R. 203 due to blowing snow and whiteout conditions. The road in this section will likely remain closed through the night unless conditions unexpectedly improve. S.R. 167 from U.S. 395 to the Nevada state line is NOT open to the public and remains CLOSED on the Caltrans site and on the QuickMap app, although some drivers had to be escorted out of the closure today.
There is no estimated time for opening the section of U.S. 395 north of Lee Vining where a large avalanche took out transmission facilities and crossed the road, burying sections under 30-40 feet of snow and debris. Caltrans and SCE crews are on standby and stationed in Lee Vining so they can access the avalanche area as soon as it is safe to do so. The section of 395 under the avalanches will remain closed until it is safe to evaluate the slides, stabilize the slopes and remove the metal retaining fence and other debris. Caltrans and SCE are seeking expert help from avalanche experts to do this, including Mammoth Mountain Ski Area Ski Patrol, who will be on call as soon as conditions improve to conduct aerial reconnaissance and avalanche control. The best estimate is the road will be closed in that area for at least next week and perhaps longer.
Benton Crossing Road is fully closed.
SCE was able to energize the Lundy Power Plant and get power to its customers from north of Lee Vining to Bridgeport today, but the agency said there could still be some temporary outages due to the extreme weather conditions over the next few days.
National Weather Service – Reno
CHP Activity – Mono/Inyo Counties
Eastern Sierra Avalanche Center