MAJOR WINDSTORM BREWING TODAY - NEXT STORM ON TRACK FOR MONDAY...

Severe winds are blowing across many areas of the Coachella Valley today. There has been a significant rise in gusts since about 11a, with winds mostly W 20-40, G50 thus far. It is possible that higher gusts could occur in localized areas. The wind is expected to diminish later this afternoon.

Travel in many areas will be difficult today, with visibility possibly reduced to zero at times, especially through the following areas:

  • I-10 from Whitewater to Indio/Highway 86
  • Vista Chino east of Gene Autry Trail
  • Indian Canyon from I-10 to near Via Escuela
  • Gene Autry Trail from I-10 to Vista Chino
  • Bob Hope from I-10 to Dinah Shore
  • Highway 86 from I-10 to Thermal
  • Highway 62 from I-10 to Twentynine Palms
  • Ramon Rd. from Date Palm to the Thousand Palms area

The wind will act erratically, as it typically does here in the lee of the mountains. Some areas may see ferocious gusts, with other areas a few miles away only experiencing light breezes due to mountain shadowing. However, anyone traveling across the valley should be prepared for the possibility of sandstorms at times, especially early this afternoon. Winds should begin decreasing later today as another storm system moves into our area on Monday.

The storm system for Monday afternoon will likely bring only a few hours of scattered showers for the deserts, but much cooler temperatures. Most of the precipitation will be over the mountains and in the coastal areas to the west of us, similar to the system that swung through yesterday. Behind this system, a period of strong north winds will likely buffet our valey once again late Monday night through early Tuesday.

Dry and warmer weather is expected Tuesday-Friday, before the next system hits Southern California around next Saturday.

LONG RANGE RAINFALL LOOKS EXTREME!

The good news is all long range forecasts are showing continued storminess for nearly all of California, with only our extreme southeastern corner areas seeing lesser rainfall. This could very well eclipse the previous "March Miracle" in 1999 that brought copious rains and snows to the state. On top of the 2-4 inches that has already fallen this weekend throughout much of CA (3-5 feet of snow last night in many Sierra locations!), another 15-18 inches of rain is possible the next 10-14 days along the coastal slopes of the mountains... which could translate to snowfall in the Sierras of more than 15 feet this month! Long range forecasting is not always accurate... but if the wet trend continues, it could be a record breaking month for all of the dry state, except perhaps our extreme SE corner. Let's see how things transpire! More on that soon.