Stormy weather continues in the Eastern Sierra. Power outages and major traffic jams are widely reported in Southern California, but so far our region has been relatively quiet.
There have been some minor accidents on the highways, 395 has closed for a few hours, and plow crews have been busy, but so far there have been no major catastrophes.
As expected with any winter weather system, driving has been difficult, but so far crews have been able to keep the roads open. 395 did shut down for a few hours Monday night, but crews were able to re-open the highway. Chains are required between the Sherwin Grade and Bridgeport at last word. Sometimes the highway patrol turns people around who are not carrying chains, but officers say that for the most part drivers have been in compliance with the chain control requirements.
So far, its been mostly rain for the Owens Valley with just under an inch of rain measured at the Bishop airport. A few flakes of snow could be seen in the air as the CHP responded to a minor accident near Bishop. There were also single vehicle accidents on the highway near Crowley Lake.
The ski areas have been relatively quiet, as might be expected for storms that have come in during the week. Those fortunate people that have made it to the slopes and who enjoy riding in a bit of weather can expect plenty of fresh snow. With more wet weather predicted to arrive, about two and a half feet of snow have fallen on Mammoth Mountain.
Inside the Town of Mammoth Lakes crews have been at work to keep the streets clear. Public Works Director Ray Jarvis reports that, except for a broken snow blower, so far crews have been able to keep up. It can be difficult to stay ahead of snowfall rates that bring a couple of feet over a period of six hours like it did Monday, but Jarvis says that the town is in good shape. Crews did more clean up work today and anticipated having the broken blower fixed in time for the next round of storms.
With water supply concerns and the skiers that can enjoy the new snow, Jarvis calls these storms, “all good.”
Visibility is always an issue in stormy conditions, especially if the wind comes up as expected. Wind and wet weather has picked up for round two this afternoon. A potent storm headed into the area on Wednesday is expected to be windier than what has come in so far. Careful driving and thinking ahead are encouraged.