Gusty winds from an incoming low-pressure system over the Pacific were expected to sweep across parts of Riverside County Thursday including the Coachella Valley, the mountains and the San Gorgonio Pass near Banning, meteorologists said.
The National Weather Service issued a high wind warning that was in effect this morning and expected to last until 2 a.m. Friday. The warning signifies that “hazardous high winds” are occurring or expected to occur.
The high wind warning covers most of the Coachella Valley, including Indio, Palm Springs, Cathedral City, Palm Desert, Palm Desert Country, La Quinta, Coachella, Banning and Desert Hot Springs. It was also in effect in the San Gorgonio Pass near Banning and the county’s mountain communities, including the Idyllwild-Pine Cove area.
Sustained west winds of 25 to 35 mph are expected, with gusts up to 60 mph, the NWS said. Strongest gusts are expected this morning, especially along desert slopes. The weather service predicted that peak winds Thursday would be 59 mph in Palm Springs, 51 mph in Thermal and 41 mph in Lake Elsinore.
Powerful winds could whip up sand and dust, reducing visibility to less than a mile at times, and creating potential hazardous driving conditions, especially for high-profile vehicles, the NWS said. Officials urged drivers to be cautious of low-visibility areas, as well as possible downed trees and power lines.
Forecasters expect the winds will diminish by tonight, with the high wind warning set to expire just a few hours before the second weekend of the 2018 Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival gets underway at the Empire Polo Grounds in Indio.
Accompanying the strong winds today will be partly cloudy skies and below-average temperatures, with a chance of rain in the mountains and Riverside metropolitan area.
High temperatures today will be 73 to 78 degrees in the Coachella Valley, 67 to 72 in the San Gorgonio Pass, 47 to 57 in the mountains and 60 to 66 in the Riverside metropolitan area. There is a 40 percent chance of rain in the mountains and a 20 percent chance west of the mountains.
For attendees of the Coachella music festival, the weather will be mostly sunny and get progressively warmer and less windy throughout the three-day second weekend. Highs in the Coachella Valley are expected to be around 88 on Friday, with winds between 15 and 25 mph. On Saturday, high temperatures will be 89 to 94 degrees with light winds, and highs will be around 94 to 99 on Sunday.