HERE COMES THE WIND AGAIN.....

The train of storm systems continues across California, with another potent cold front moving into Northern California tonight. The southern end of this system will move into Southern California later tonight , continuing to influence our weather tomorrow. Yet another system arrives Monday afternoon and Tuesday.

I captured this image of a lenticular cloud over the nearby mountains late Saturday afternoon, often a precursor to high winds for our area.

I captured this image of a lenticular cloud over the nearby mountains late Saturday afternoon, often a precursor to high winds for our area.

The deserts can expect periods of high winds to return, with blowing sand and dust likely at times this week. Even a few showers are possible at times. The weather will continue extremely cool, with some days failing to even reach 80 degrees. More details below….

Source: NOAA satellite, late afternoon 5/18/19

Source: NOAA satellite, late afternoon 5/18/19

SATURDAY NIGHT - SUNDAY

As you can see from the satellite image Saturday evening, a powerful storm is moving east into California. A low pressure is centered off the Northern California coast, with a cold front curling southwestward off the coast. This is a significant system for this time of year, and is expected to drop more than 1-2 foot of snow in the higher elevations of Central California the next few days.

For us here in the Palm Springs area, the approaching low pressure will begin moving inland to our north. As the pressure drops over Nevada tonight, this will increase the onshore flow of air, and winds have already begun to increase in some areas. This is expected to continue tonight, with strengthening winds by tomorrow.

Various area are likely to see winds tonight and tomorrow. Along the I-10 Corridor, as well as northern areas of Palm Springs and Rancho Mirage, northwest winds are likely to gust between 30-35 tonight, with gusts likely increasing to 50 mph+ by late Sunday morning into the late afternoon or evening. Blowing sand is likely again, for continued issues for roads crossing the Whitewater Wash.

Also, the remainder of the areas in Central and South Palm Springs, as well as South Cathedral City, South Rancho Mirage and South Palm Desert, are likely to have periods of strong winds from the south and southwest at times, becoming more frequent and stronger on Sunday. Gusts may reach 30-45 mph Sunday.

WHERE WILL IT RAIN/SNOW?

Cirrus clouds are already creating an opaque sky, and these clouds will continue to thicken and lower overnight. By tomorrow, thick cloudiness is likely to be banked against our western mountain peaks, as rain and snow begins in the nearby mountains. Snow level will start around 7,500 feet Sunday morning, lowering to near 6,000 feet by late in the day.

By Sunday night, the snow level may lower to near 5,500 feet, with 3-7 inches of snow possible above 7,000 feet.

For the deserts, not a lot of rain is expected in the low deserts of the Coachella Valley. Expectations are that less than 0.05 inch will fall, so some areas may possibly remain dry, with others susceptible to brief showers or even a stray thunderstorm Sunday. However, in the higher desert communities such as Morongo Valley and Pioneertown, up to 0.25 inch is possible on Sunday and Sunday night. The further away from the higher peaks you move east, (i.e. Landers and Twentynine Palms) will likely receive lesser amounts. However, the big story will be the wind… with gusts near 50 mph expected in most high desert areas, with areas of blowing sand and dust possible.

ANOTHER SYSTEM MONDAY AFTERNOON - TUESDAY

After a short break from the wind and clouds late Sunday night and early Monday, yet ANOTHER system is expected to dive south into the West later Monday into Tuesday. This system has the potential to be stronger, with even higher winds and possibly more mountain snow and lower elevations scattered showers. Winds may gust up to 65 mph at some point Monday night or Tuesday. This system has the potential to stall out over the Desert Southwest for several days, as it slowly weakens. Scattered showers or even a thunderstorm may linger through Wednesday or Thursday if the system stays nearby. All this wind will cause havoc for efforts to keep the roads between I-10 and Palm Springs open. Be prepared for closures at times.

7 DAY PRECIPITATION ESTIMATES

The National Weather Service is predicting some areas of California may receive over 2-3+ inches of rain the next 7 days. The deserts won’t get all that much, if any…. but the nearby mountains and coastal areas from San Diego, northward to Oregon, are expected to get several periods of late springtime rainfall. Take a look at the latest charts they’ve released below.

Nearly the entire West will get a nice soaking at times the next 7 days, according to the latest National Weather Service predictions.

Nearly the entire West will get a nice soaking at times the next 7 days, according to the latest National Weather Service predictions.

WHAT ABOUT THE COOL TEMPS?

Temperatures have been on a rollercoaster this month, oscillating back and forth between above normal and below normal. Take a look at the high and low temps at Palm Springs Airport thus far this month. Those marked in blue indicate the days with below normal temps, and those marked in red indicate above normal temps. I’ve indicated how many degrees above or below normal in the column to the right.

Source: National Weather Service, Palm Springs Airport.

Source: National Weather Service, Palm Springs Airport.

Perhaps what is so remarkable is the lack of excessive heat. Eight days of the month have been above normal, yet only one day has reached 100 degrees thus far. There remains a decent chance that we will not see temperatures approaching 100 degrees for the remainder of the month. In fact, some areas the next several days may experience record low temperatures. Some mountain areas will likely approach 35 degrees below normal! Late springtime storm systems aren’t entirely out of the question, but what is remarkable about this pattern, is the consistency with which continued systems are arriving.

SUMMARY OF WEATHER TO WATCH THIS WEEK

HIGH WINDS: Saturday night, Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, ( less widespread Wednesday, Thursday and Friday)

RAIN: Slight chance of desert showers or thunderstorms Sunday, and again Monday-Tuesday. Slight chance Wednesday or Thursday.

MOUNTAIN SNOW: possible later Sunday, and again later Monday-early Tuesday, mostly above 6,000-7,000 feet.

POTENTIAL PROBLEM AREAS:

  • Highway 243 near Idyllwild will experience periods of thick fog. Snow level may lower enough for a few flakes north of Idyllwild near Pine Cove, perhaps Sunday evening, and again Monday night.

  • I-10 from Banning to Indio will experience periods of heavy winds, between 40-65 mph at times this week, likely causing blowing sand and dust during windiest periods and creating reduced air quality for the central and eastern portions of the Coachella Valley due to airborne dust.

  • Highway 62 from I-10 to Twentynine Palms will experience periods of heavy winds, between 35-60 mph at times through Wednesday, with blowing sand and dust during windiest periods.

  • Highway 18 from Running Springs to Big Bear and Highway 38 from Angelus Oaks to Big Bear may experience a few periods of snow accumulation, possibly Sunday night and again Monday night or early Tuesday.

  • Indian Canyon Rd, Gene Autry Trail, and Vista Chino are all going to be susceptible to road closures due to poor visibility and excessive blowing sand and dust at times (Indian Canyon is highest risk).

MUCH COOLER TEMPS (PALM SPRINGS):

  • Sunday: 77/56

  • Monday: 80/57

  • Tuesday: 76/57

  • Wednesday: 77/57

  • Thursday: 82/61

MEMORIAL DAY OUTLOOK

Long term outlooks are always a bit difficult to have much confidence in, but current projections show an area of low pressure remaining over the West for the holiday weekend. This would suggest temps will likely remain at or below normal, depending upon how far south the systems linger. Currently, temps somewhere between the high 80s and mid 90s seem most likely. It will likely be another 3-4 days before the details will become clearer looking that far ahead.

Interesting to note, is that the persistent low pressure over the West appears to be balanced by persistent high pressure over the Southeast United States, effectively stalling the normal movement of systems from west to east. This is likely to cause an early season heat wave in portions of the Southeast, with temps likely to approach 100 degrees.

Enjoy the cool weather while it lasts! I know many people are seriously DONE with this wind and cooler weather, but we will undoubtedly get our high heat at some point soon.

CONSIDER AVOIDING MAJOR TRIMMING OF HEDGES AND TREES AT THIS LATE POINT IN THE SEASON

Remember to use caution over trimming hedges and other trees/plants this late in the season, as recently cut ficus hedges and trees and shrubs have historically been shocked when temps climb over 115 the last few weeks of June. Giving overly manicured vegetation that is trimmed now, only 2-3 weeks to heal up before our high heat arrives, has proven to assist in the death and shock of many of our plants! Do yourself a favor and ask your landscapers that haven’t yet learned this, to refrain from excessive trimming at this point, until late September! You will thank me later for the advice! Too many plants go into shock late next month (if we get the extreme heat), if they’ve been severely pruned the last half of May.