The National Weather Service update for Mammoth Mountain contained a startling fact:
MAMMOTH MOUNTAIN WIND SENSOR AT 11000 FEET REPORTED SUSTAINED WINDS OF 140-150 MPH, BUT APPEARS GUST SENSOR CAN`T REPORTS WINDS OVER 150 MPH. ESTIMATING PEAK GUSTS OVER THE TOP OF MAMMOTH MOUNTAIN OF 170-180 MPH USING A 15-20 PERCENT INCREASE OVER THE SUSTAINED WINDS. ASIDE FROM THE TOP OF MAMMOTH MOUNTAIN, PEAK GUSTS OF 70-90 MPH WERE REPORTED ALONG THE CREST AND BELOW 10000 FEET.
So basically, Mammoth has been experiencing a category 4 hurricane. See it on a graph. The winds hit 80 miles an hour this morning at the main ski lodge at Mammoth. The Forest Service has warned that trees have been blown down below the mountain:
The winds that blew throughout the state Wednesday night brought down approximately 300-400 trees in the Mammoth Lakes Basin. Most of the trees were located in the vicinity of the Mammoth Lakes Pack Station. Many of the uprooted trees have not completely fallen to the ground, but rather are leaning on other trees or other blowdown. Due to this hazardous situation, and the fact that the winds are still blowing, the Forest Service has temporarily closed off portions of the area with yellow “Restricted Area” tape and closure signs.
At this time the Forest Service is highly discouraging pedestrian traffic in the Lakes Basin.
Unfortunately high winds are predicted for the next several days, so until they subside the Forest Service cannot safely go into the Lakes Basin to do a full assessment of the damage, and begin to clean it up. Forest Service engineering crews and equipment will be made available next week to begin the clean-up work once it is safe to go into the area, weather permitting.