Lower Rock Creek Photo taken at 1pm IC Public Works

Lower Rock Creek Road
Photo IC Public Works

Storm Impacts Widespread

UPDATE – 5 p.m. – Evening arrived with good news for the residents of Paradise. According to the Inyo County Road Department, the waters are receding adjacent to Lower Rock Creek Road and crews tentatively anticipated having the road open to at least one lane later tonight.

UPDATE – 4:30 p.m. – All waterways in the Owens Valley are inundated and at flood stage. The water is swift and deep, and conditions are expected to deteriorate through the weekend. The public is urged to avoid all roads and paths along waterways as they are slick, muddy, and dangerous.

County Road Crews are currently working to save Whitney Portal Road, where the shoulder is collapsing due to flooding. A similar issue still exists with Lower Creek Road between Gorge Road and Paradise, with the road nearly washed away entirely. Inyo County Public Works has a loader staged onsite so that crews can repair the road and make it passable again as soon as the water stops actively flowing. In the meantime, the community of Paradise will remain cut off from services in both directions. Inyo County issued an emergency notification to Paradise residents earlier this afternoon telling them to shelter in place.

An evacuation warning is still in effect for the communities of Oak Creek and Ft. Independence. In the absence of an imminent evacuation order – and any residents needing shelter – the County closed a temporary evacuation point it had set up at the Owens Valley School District Multi-Purpose Room. If and when the situation grows more serious, emergency staff will regroup at the Independence HHS office to determine whether the shelter needs to be reopened.

County emergency staff is monitoring the Aberdeen and Olancha areas for possible evacuations. Olancha in particular is vulnerable where the aqueduct goes under the highway, and has been experiencing significant flooding around the four-lane project area with sand and debris in the roadway.

Reports of heavy storm impacts have also come in from Lone Pine, where the Lone Pine Paiute-Shoshone Reservation set up an emergency shelter in the gymnasium earlier today. Los Angeles Department of Water and Power crews responded to flooding at Lone Pine Creek near Tuttle Road.

Southern Inyo Hospital was experiencing flooding earlier
today and sandbags were deployed by the County in response.

Big Pine Canal had topped its bank and was sheeting water earlier today, but LADWP responded and has generally abated the issue.
The storm is also impacting State Route 168 East and CalTrans has been monitoring the situation and working to mitigate damage.

Highway 395 remains closed to all non-emergency vehicles from Pearsonville to Bishop. There is no estimated time of opening, but the highway is passable for emergency vehicles.

An updated Road Open/Closed list has been posted and is on Ready Inyo (inyocounty.us).

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