Stagecoach and the White Party are a wrap, which means hundreds of thousands of people are heading out of the Coachella Valley. Bumper to bumper traffic flooded the roads, and the Interstate-10 going westbound was backed up for miles starting at the crack of dawn. To make matters worse, there are road closures due to high winds and sand.
In fact, Indian Canyon is closed yet again because of the low visibility conditions that come with the wind, on that stretch of the road. Now, if you thought conditions seem like they have gotten worse over the last couple of months, you’re absolutely right. Before Valentine’s day storm, there was thicker sediment on the sand. However, flooding removed that thick layer, facilitating sand and dust particles to blow everywhere.
NBC Palm Springs spoke to geology Professor Richard Burns, from College of the Desert, who says this pattern comes as no surprise.
“As that wind is blowing and blowing these much smaller particles away, we have much bigger particles. That’s what we call desert pavement. And now what has happened is, we have moved the larger particles from the flooding, and so now we have all of these much smaller particles that are now being transported by that wind.”
The good news is, there are things that can help mitigate the blowing sand.
“Vegetation definitely helps reduce the rate of erosion. With the roots of the vegetation, it can hold those grains together and compact them a little better,” Burns added.
The tricky part about planting vegetation is that it needs to be watered and somewhat carefed for, which is something that would require resources and city aid. Therefore, until the vegetation is planted or starts growing naturally, there are some things Professor Burns says you should keep in mind.
“Try to stay away from locations where you have high erosion rates. You get sand blasted. You car gets sand blasted.”
Surely a problem that’s here to stay until the desert pavement forms once again.