First storm of spring aimed at Alpine, Mono counties

J. Marklee Toll Station was still fairly buried on Friday afternoon in Markleeville.

J. Marklee Toll Station was still fairly buried on Friday afternoon in Markleeville.

Forecasters say the brunt of the next storm will be felt in Alpine and Mono counties, still recovering from the last bout of storms.

A winter storm watch has been issued from Monday through Wednesday morning for the length of the Sierra Nevada.

Snow accumulations of 3-9 inches along the Highway 395 corridor with 2-3 feet in the Sierra above 8,500 feet.

Today is forecast to be warm and dry ahead of a front due to arrive on Sunday.

“Simulations have trended toward lower liquid and snow totals for the Sierra, but still enough to lead to Sierra travel impacts as snow levels fall below 6,000 feet. Shadowing and lack of moisture depth will really limit rain or snow totals to Western Nevada,” forecasters said on Saturday morning.

Next week’s storm is expected to strike further south.

“Given the more southern track, there appears there will be a break Monday and Monday night with heaviest snowfall now expected to arrive Tuesday,” said National Weather Service Reno Meteorologist Wendell Hohmann.

Snow levels are expected to drop to near the valley floors in Western Nevada by Tuesday.

Because snow levels will be so low, there will be less chance of flooding as a result of the storm.

The Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest is warning winter recreationists that conditions are right for avalanches and flooding on National Forest System lands in Nevada and eastern California due to recent rain-on-snow events and warmer temperatures.

“When rainfall coincide with seasonal snow cover, the runoff of water can be much greater than what is produced from rain or snowmelt alone,” explained Forest Supervisor Bill Dunkelberger. “Also, the snowpack becomes heavier and more unstable, which increases the likelihood of an avalanche occurring.”

Highway 89 is closed east of the Carson River Resort in Alpine County due to a slide. On Friday, the resort was open and accessible from Markleeville, but there are some serious cracks in the highway;

No estimated time to reopen the road has been issued by the California Department of Transportation.

Alpine supervisors met on Tuesday to ratify the local state of emergency declared on March 12.

Alpine opened a warming shelter on Tuesday at the Behavioral Health Services building through at least Friday.

As of Saturday morning, Highway 395 was closed from Lee Vining to Highway 167 north of Mono Lake.

Mammoth Lakes has issued an evacuation warning for snow damaged properties that pose a potential threat to life and property,” according to spokesman Justin Caporusso. “Several structures throughout the Town of Mammoth Lakes have failed over the past few days, and the threat to public safety is high.”

There have been widespread avalanches in Mono County, Caporusso reported on Friday evening.

“Snow, flooding, debris flows and erosion continue to impact most major roadways in Inyo and Mono counties,” he said.

CalTrans is conducting aerial avalanche mitigation so crews on the ground can safely clear highways.

The danger from snow slides isn’t limited to the mountains.

“The threat of snow sliding off roofs will increase over the next few days as temperatures warm,” he said. “Residents are urged to always be alert if walking under a roof or overhanging awing with snow or ice.

Mono is on the list of California counties that have been declared a federal disaster area.

Highway 395 has been closed in at least one place through Mono County for the past two weeks.

Mono County is gathering information from residents and businesses that have experienced through a damage survey.


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