Kirkwood warns skiers of impending storm

A California Department of Transportation snowplow works on Highway 395 in Mono County.

A California Department of Transportation snowplow works on Highway 395 in Mono County.

With an upgraded Sierra storm forecast for Saturday, Kirkwood Ski Resort issued a rare warning to its patrons.

“We aren’t normally in the business of saying ‘don’t come to Kirkwood,’ but if you don’t have overnight accommodations until Tuesday already secured, it’s not a good idea to drive up here (Saturday). Lodging is full for the weekend, so that will not be an option,” the resort said on its social media.

In answer to a question, resort officials said people might be able to get to the resort, but getting out will be another matter.

“With a winter storm warning beginning at 10 a.m. (Saturday), it’s likely that the only roads out of Kirkwood will close as visibility could be near zero by noon.”

The National Weather Service issued a winter storm warning for the entire length of the Sierra Nevada on Friday afternoon.

“Extreme travel disruptions possible,” forecasters said in the notice. “If you come to the Sierra this weekend, you may not be able to leave for a while. If you become stuck in your vehicle, rescue may be significantly delayed.”

Snow accumulations of 2-4 feet and winds gusting up to 50 mph, and 100 mph on the Sierra crest are anticipated through 4 a.m. Monday in Alpine County and Lake Tahoe.

The warning takes effect at 2 p.m. Saturday in Mono County south of Gardnerville, with up to 2 feet above 7,000 feet.

Highway 395 was still closed on Friday between Lee Vining and Bridgeport.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency for Mono County.

The Mono County Office of Emergency Management is in direct communication with California’s Office of Emergency Services and has requested assistance with snow plowing and removal, and personnel to assist with snow removal from hydrants and propane tanks.

“Mono County OEM has also requested generators, propane delivery, firewood, water, and MRE’s for the Bridgeport and Mono City communities,” officials said on Thursday. “This assistance will free up County resources to focus on other areas of the county to catch up with snowplowing.”

Mono officials urged residents to use the break in the storm to prepare.

“It is critical that residents take this opportunity to prepare for the storm ahead,” said Director of Emergency Management Chris Mokracek. “Our crews and partners are working around the clock to clear roads and restore power, and we appreciate your patience during this process. While most local roads are expected to be open later March 2, residents are urged to plan accordingly and take the opportunity to stock-up on critical items needed to ride out the next storm event.”

Carson Valley is under a wind advisory 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday. Winds of 25-35 mph are forecast with gusts of up to 55 mph.

A winter weather advisory is in effect 1 p.m. Saturday to 10 a.m. Sunday with 2-6 inches in the Valley and 6-10 inches above 5,000 feet. The snow won’t stop with the arrival of snow, with 45 mph gusts possible through the day.


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