Inyo and Mono Counties Prep for Run-Off and Recovery from Epic Winter
Traffic in the Owens Valley was nearly reduced to a crawl in February with more than a foot of
fresh snow. Three thousand feet up the mountain, the town of Mammoth Lakes doesn’t keep
snow fall depths, but the ski area set a record of 705-inches with more on the way this week.
Now both counties are dealing with the aftermath. Temperatures in the Owens Valley have
risen and the valley is seeing an increase in flows. Thankfully, this week is cooling off, giving the town of Mammoth Lakes a reprieve from run-off, if not more snow.
Inyo held an information session last week focused on avoiding flooding as the snow pack melts off and heads downhill. Crews have already started clearing culverts and checking on bridges, according to Shannon Platt, assistant director of Public Works. Residents were encouraged to make sure ditches on their property are cleared and widened and to observe road closures.
And the record snow pack and subsequent run-off will be the gift that keeps on giving, in the
form of more bugs, according to Ag Commissioner Nate Reade, Mammoth Lakes’ situation is about 600-times worse with the risk of structural damage from roof snow load. According to Public Works Director Haislip Hayes 60 structures were initially red-tagged; 35 still are. In addition, 78 structures have been yellow-tagged, restricting access.
The town is still waiting to see if its emergency declaration is approved by state and federal
agencies. That will make funding and assistance available to the town and residents.
Town Manager Dan Holler reported the town is also working on an assistance plan, similar to
the program developed for COVID-19, as well as help for locals, homeless after their residencessuffered damage. Pot holes will have to wait, Hayes said, until warmer weather. He asked localsto call Public Works if they see something “unusual.”