Press releases

The National Weather Service is forecasting another atmospheric river to impact the Eastern Sierra and Owens Valley this Friday and Saturday. Rainfall amounts could reach 1.5-inches during this period with rainfall of one-half to eight-tenths likely from Bishop to Lone Pine. Depending on snow-levels, rain could accelerate snow melt in the southern Sierra and lead to flooding throughout the Owens Valley. Citizens are urged to take precautions accordingly.

In preparation of possible flooding conditions due to heavy rains or snow melt-off, Inyo County residents are reminded that the Inyo County Office of Emergency Services, Inyo County Sheriff’s Office, and Inyo County Road Department have strategically staged sand piles at several locations throughout the Owens Valley. These sand piles are accessible anytime to all Inyo County residents for emergency preparedness and response, and will be replenished whenever possible.

  • Site 1: Back of the Bishop City Park near the Senior Center
  • Site 2: Bishop Fire Station 2 at West Line Street, west of Manor Market  
  • Site 3: Bishop Fire Station 3 at SeeVee and U.S. Highway 395.
  • Site 4: Starlite Community Park
  • Site 5: Mustang Mesa-Mill Creek Road
  • Big Pine Fire Station.  
  • Inyo County Sheriff’s Facility on Clay Street
  • Inyo County Road Department on Mazourka Road
  • Sand trap located on Whitney Portal Road West of the LA Aqueduct.
  • Olancha Fire Department.  

Sand bags for flood preparedness are available from many Inyo County merchants, including but is not limited to the following:  Manor True Value, High Country Lumber, Home Lumber and Brown’s Supply in Bishop; Hi-Country Market in Big Pine; Gardner’s True Value in Lone Pine; and Home Depot in Pahrump.

Emergency sand bags available from the following fire departments:  Bishop Fire Station 1-Downtown Bishop, Big Pine Fire Station, Independence Fire Station, Lone Pine Fire Station, and Olancha Fire Station.  Emergency sand bags will be distributed at the discretion of each fire department, and may be limited based on weather conditions, need and demand. Residents and businesses in known flood areas are urged to prepare ahead of time; utilizing the sand stockpiles listed above and sand bags purchased from local businesses.

To report flooding, please contact the Sheriff’s Office at (760) 878-0383. Be prepared to tell the Sheriff’s Dispatcher the exact location of the flooding and if the water threatens structures, animals, land, or roadways. If water threatens human life – dial 911. And always remember: If you see water crossing a roadway – Turn Around, Don’t Drown!

Flooding is one of the many dangers of hazardous weather conditions that can compound in a hurry for those who find themselves unprepared, which sadly, can lead to emotional and/or financial devastation.  Fortunately, there are some simple steps to take to better protect you, your family, your pets, and your property from the dangers of flooding:

  1. Clean gutters before the first storm hits, and again afterwards.
  1. Check all drainage devices and remove accumulated silt and debris. This will need to be done repeatedly throughout the rainy season.
  1. Check all areas of your property to ensure that all drainage is directed away from your house.
  1. Do not park in front, or on top of, storm drain inlets when parking along the street.
  1. On trash pick-up days, set trash cans on the curb in your parkway instead of in the street gutter.  This will prevent back-up of flowing debris as well as prevent your trash cans from being swept away by swift-moving storm water.
  1. Purchase tools and emergency supply materials such as shovels, sandbags and plastic sheeting and keep them handy and accessible.  
  1. Does your family have a Disaster Plan and a Disaster Supply Kit for your home and each of your vehicles?  Form an evacuation plan. The key to surviving a flood, or any disaster, is learning the safest route away from your home to a safe area, in case you need to evacuate in a hurry. Prepare a cache of emergency supplies including food, water, fresh batteries, flashlights and portable radios in good working order, matches, firewood, fuel, prescriptions and a first aid kit. Advice on what your Disaster Plan should look like and what to include in your Disaster Supply Kits can be found on the Inyo County-Office of Emergency Services webpage.  Visit for more tips and information on Emergency Planning and Disaster Supplies.
  1. Do you know what the flood risk is for your property?  Visit the following California Department of Water Resources (CDWR) webpage at
    1.  Click on the link to enter your address location and find out what your risk level is.
  1. Review your home insurance policy. Does it include flood insurance?  Flood insurance is not always required, or typically included, in home policies. Read the fine print!  Don’t wait until the last minute and the storm is bearing down on you. Most insurance companies have a 30 day waiting period before the flood policy will go into effect.  Californians living in areas with any risk of flooding should purchase flood insurance through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) immediately. Learn more at  
  1. Make an itemized list of personal property which includes clothing, furnishings and valuables. Take photographs of your home, both inside and out, and store them in a safe place. This will help an insurance adjuster to settle any claims and to help prove uninsured losses. Don’t rely on federal disaster assistance to pay for damages. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) typically provides assistance in the form of low interest loans, not as compensation for losses.  For more information on flood-related resources, please visit the National Flood Insurance Program website at  
  1. And finally…..BE PROACTIVE AND BE INFORMED! Track predicted storms on the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) website at and plan your travel and outdoor activities accordingly.

Remember, during emergency events such as severe storms and flooding, emergency workers may be responding to incidents all over the 10,000 square miles that make up Inyo County. It’s important that all residents and businesses take steps to be prepared and self-sufficient in the event of an emergency.

For more information on flooding risks and preparedness, check out the following link:


The predicted storm for Friday into Saturday is anticipated to bring an unusual late season “atmospheric river” severe storm with the potential for significant flooding. Rivers, creeks, streams and poor drainages are of greatest concern.

The National Weather Service has issued both a Winter Storm Watch and a Flood Watch for Mono County. Current updates can always be found at

Please take the time to prepare for the storm. Secure loose outdoor items, clear poor drainages and sandbag where necessary.

If you need sandbags, they will be available at these Mono County locations:

Tom’s Place (behind asphalt piles) Long Valley Fire Department (behind station) Benton Road Shop Chalfant Fire Department Lee Vining Road Shop June Lake Community Center Bridgeport Road Shop Walker Road Shop.

Sandbags will also be available at the Town of Mammoth Lakes yard at 299 Commerce.