With time to think about things, members of the Mammoth Lakes business community sat down with the Town Manager, Police Chief and Fire Chief this week. They talked storm warnings and ways to tell the public.
Manager Clark said that the big question was what do we do in the future if a serious, off-the-charts weather prediction arrives? The National Weather Service had described storm that blew in January 4th as a record event with up to 10 feet of snow and 100 mph winds. The arrival of the system was not so devastating as predicted. That’s when business owners cried foul as they saw tourists and dollars drive out of town.
Manager Clark said that at the staff meeting “everybody agreed that the Reverse 911 calls were appropriate. Some suggested that follow-up calls after the first one would help explain things.
Others suggested that the Town call grocery stores and gas stations to warn them first. A head’s up that the public might hit them in droves. Clark also said that the Town will invite Chamber of Commerce representatives to take part in the pre-planning meetings.
Law enforcement, fire and some others had gathered in a large planning meeting before the storm hit. With business representatives there, damage control could pre-empt trouble.
Clark said that the gas stations need back-up power and Lodging owners need an emergency guide so they can tell guests what to do.
The Town Manager said that everyone talked through the issues. “We understand last year was bad for business,” he said. “They understand that we have a responsibility to put out the word. The main point,” he said, “is that we’re communicating and will work together in the future.”
As for Inyo County, business owners did not complain about hustling visitors out of town in the face of severe and even dangerous weather. Inyo Sheriff Bill Lutze issued continuing information about storm dangers. He had worked with new Police chief Kathleen Sheehan to set up a command center in Bishop in case shelters were needed.