When winter storms head to the Coachella Valley, it’s pretty standard to see snowfall up at the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway.
Most of the time when it rains here on the valley floor, neighbors in the mountains or visitors at the tram see all the snow.
But this time around, the snow is surpassing expectations.
“Last night we got about four inches of snow. It’s been crazy for even getting snow at the valley station, which happens every once in a while but it’s very rare.” says Madison Morgan, the Public Relations Manager for the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway.
Officials say the snowfall is heavier and affecting more than just the tramway.
Cities like Beaumont and Banning are all seeing snow as well, and even areas in the high desert like Joshua Tree are experiencing the same.
With the recent winds and more wet weather on the way, some people are hesitant to hit the road to higher elevations, like the tram.
“People do get concerned with the wind gusts… but we actually have a pretty high sustained wind threshold for the tramcars because they’re so heavy so our threshold was about 60 miles per hour and then from then on, we assess safety.”
While the tram won’t be too busy during the storm, officials say there’s a silver lining after all the rainfall.
“When we get heavy snowfall, while it’s snowing, we don’t get really busy but once the storm passes will typically get really really busy because people know that if it’s raining in the valley, it probably is snowing at the mountain and that means there’s tons of fresh snow to play in.” says Morgan.
Right now, tram officials say they expect to have active snowfall until at least Sunday.