Historic Storm on Way: Here’s What You Need to Know
By Wendilyn Grasseschi
Mono County’s District 2 Supervisor Fred Stump is a former Long Valley Fire Chief and a longtime fireman who was on the front lines during the Round Fire.
He said earlier this week that the atmospheric river storm forecast for tomorrow, Jan. 7 through Jan. 9, is “the first time in 20 years that this particular scenario has existed,” referring to the potential for massive flooding, caused by a warm, wet storm colliding with an already moisture-saturated snowpack.
The most similar event was the massive flooding on the Walker River in 1997, which tore out large chunks of U.S. Highway 395 and did major damage all over the county.
Although this storm is not forecast to be quite as destructive, it is still being billed as a major, historic event, deserving of respect and preparation.
Stump is sharing everything he knows about how Mono County has prepared for the storm, what resident’s resources are, and what residents themselves can do to avoid becoming part of the problem.
Here’s what he sent out to his constituents and to the Times.
How is the county preparing?
• Public Works has divided the county into two operational areas, north and south. Each area will have it's own supervisor who will be on duty for the duration of the event. In addition there will be an additional supervisor available to respond to high hazard locations.
• The Sheriffs Department has contacted the California Office of Emergency Services about a mission number in order to access State assistance if required.
• All Public Works Staff will be available.
• The County Avalanche Forecaster will be providing information and assessments to Public Works and the Sheriffs Department.
• There are stockpiles of sand and sandbags scattered throughout the County.
• All the County shelters are ready to be opened. The decision to open a specific shelter will be up to the Sheriff's Department. All the generators at the shelters have been tested in case of power outage. Public Health is prepared to provide nursing assistance at any shelter that is opened.
• Southern California Edison has moved additional equipment into the area to deal with power outages.
• County Inmates are filling sandbags today and placing them on pallets so they can be delivered to impacted areas. This is in addition to the locations with sand and bags listed on the attached Sheriff's Department press release.
• Animal Control will have staff on all weekend to deal with our four-legged friends that may need help.
• The Marines from the Mountain Warfare Training Center have been cleared by their Command to assist the County any way they can.
• The County will use social media and local radio to get announcements out. Specific evacuations, if ordered will use the Code Red system for those that are signed up. This will be augmented by door-to-door contact.
• The County and the Town of Mammoth Lakes are coordinating so that resources can be utilized and shared.
There will be additional conference calls between County and Town staff, the Weather Service, and State OES in the next couple of days.
Here is how you can help:
• Please do not blow the snow that is currently on the ground into the street. This could only exacerbate any runoff issues or block up drains.
• If you have drains near your property please try and clear them as much as possible. Given the recent snowfall, Public Works cannot get to them all.
• If you need help, dial 760- 932-7549 and pick option 7. This will connect you to a Sheriff's Department Public Safety Officer. The Sheriff's Department will have two operators on duty instead of the usual one.
• Please try and be patient. If incidents start to occur they may need to be triaged to deal with the most severe first until additional resources can be assigned. The entire County may need attention.