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Storm brings snow to Owens Valley

January 24, 2012

Caltrans District 9 snow plow crews were busy clearing State Route 168 from Bishop to Aspendell Saturday following the storm that rolled into the Eastern Sierra Friday night. As of yesterday afternoon, chain controls were in effect on S.R. 168 from three miles west of Bishop to Aspendell, thanks to more snowfall Sunday evening. Photo by Sterling Schat

After a warm, dry start to the winter, residents in the northern part of Inyo County woke up Monday to a blanket of snow that slowed traffic in Bishop for much of the morning and required chain and snow-tire restrictions on a number of local highways.
Within the city of Bishop, several inches of snow were recorded and communities as far south as Independence said they got a dusting.
Bishop and Big Pine area schools, including Round Valley Elementary and Cerro Coso Community College, closed for the day Monday.
Schools from Independence south remained open Monday.
Eastern Sierra Meteorologist Howard Schecter said Bishop received about four inches of snow Monday morning and more than an inch of water (in the form of snow and/or rain) over the past four days.
In Lone Pine, Chamber of Commerce Director Kathleen New said there was no snow, but the community has had a steady rain since late Sunday night.
“Whoever is in charge of the weather turned the snow off in Lone Pine, but we’ve got rain,” New said. “It’s a nice level rain, it’s not pouring.”
While the snow in Inyo County stopped at about 11 a.m. and began melting away by noon Monday, Mammoth Mountain Ski Area reported that it had more than four feet of snow, with more powder coming down.
Schecter said that, within the past week, Mammoth Mountain has received about seven feet of snow at its highest point, with at least four feet at Main Lodge.
While precipitation is good economic news for the Sierra, and great news for skiers and snowboarders, the weekend storms did create some problems for motorists as Caltrans issued chain and snow-tire requirements for many local highways.
As of Monday morning, chains and snow tires were required on U.S. 6 from Bishop north to the Nevada state line. Chains or snow tires were required between Big Pine and Bishop Monday morning.
State Route 168 had chain controls set from three miles west of Bishop all the way up to Aspendell and State Route 158 was closed from three miles north of June Lake Village to the U.S. 395 junction.
Road restrictions will change with the weather, so anyone who is planning to travel on state highways should call (800) 427-ROAD for the latest road conditions and restrictions.

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