(August 24, 2023) Bishop, CA – Inyo County and the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power are making progress surveying the damage wrought by Hurricane Hilary and repairing critical infrastructure taken offline by the rainfall and flash flooding.
Yesterday and today, Inyo County Road Crews were able to reopen four of the 22 roads damaged by the storm as it blew through the area on Sunday and Monday, dropping record amounts of precipitation in less than 12 hours. The reopened routes include Horseshoe Meadows, Tuttle Creek, Tecopa Hot Springs, and State Line roads.
Additionally, Caltrans crews have been working around the clock to restore access to the communities of Darwin, Keeler, and Homewood Canyon. The County remains in communication with the residents regarding needed services. State Route 190 in Death Valley National Park sustained major damage and the park remains closed to the public. S.R. 190 and S.R. 136 outside of the park are also closed to the public.
The County and LADWP thank the public for its cooperation and ask for continued patience as they assess damages, which are severe and widespread. Estimated timeframes for reopening certain roads are not available and are dependent on numerous factors. The situation is also ever-changing, as LADWP works to redirect waters to their channels.
“Our aqueduct crews continue to make progress on local waterways, working to relieve any blockages to water flows,” LADWP Aqueduct Manager Adam Perez said. “There are several active work sites in multiple locations in the Owens Valley and we urge the public to please cooperate with closure and warning signs and give the crews the space needed to conduct this very important work. Conditions are still dangerous in many areas with high flows and mud and debris buildup.”
Frequent updates on the status of Inyo County roads are posted daily on the Sheriff’s Office’s Facebook and Instagram, and can be found here along with links to Caltrans’ road updates: https://ready.inyocounty.us/pages/road-closures.
Evacuation Orders are still in effect for the Oak Creek community outside of Independence and the area on the north side of Whitney Portal Road, west of Horseshoe Meadows Road. The Sheriff’s Office continues to closely monitor the situations in Oak and Lone Pine creeks.
Local waters – already swollen with unprecedented amounts of runoff – were inundated by Sunday and Monday’s rainfall, resulting in extreme flooding and mud flow into creeks, canals, and the Los Angeles Aqueduct (LAA). The high flows in creeks destroyed or damaged most of LADWP diversion and flow measurement structures between the towns of Big Pine and Olancha. Five state highways and more than two dozen county roads sustained significant damage in the storm.
LADWP, the Sheriff’s Office, and Inyo County Office of Emergency Services urge the public to obey all road closures and to stay away from the Owens and River and local creeks. Banks have been overrun with water and there is a large amount of mud and debris in many areas.
Sandbags are still available at Inyo County fire stations (Sandbag Locations – March 9 2023.pdf (dropbox.com)).
Road closure updates as well as links to key resources can be found at the Office of Emergency Service’s website, https://ready.inyocounty.us.
Current weather updates can be found at: https://forecast.weather.gov/MapClick.php.