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Whipping winds wreak havoc across the Coachella Valley

Blue skies and calm winds made for a pleasant Saturday morning, but by later that afternoon whipping winds wreaked havoc across the Coachella Valley. A high wind warning went into effect for the desert starting at 10 a.m. and lasted until 10 p.m.

By about 2:30 Palm Springs police issued a notice to notify drivers that N Indian Canyon Drive between Garnet Avenue and Sunrise Parkway closed "due to drifting sand causing zero visibility."

Drivers drove down Indian Canyon just to realize they had to turn back. Many were using their headlights just to get through the large bouts of sand that would blow across the road.

"I was just taking a nice little Saturday drive and I also noticed the visibility and how windy it is, but I also smell a fire," said Morongo Valley resident, Pita Alcantar.

A fire broke out along a row of tamarisk trees near the eastbound side of the I-10 freeway near Vista Chino and Date Palm Drive.

Cathedral City Fire and the Riverside County Fire Department were both on scene as the wind sent much of the smoke to the eastern Coachella Valley. Fire crews had their faces shielded to keep from a painful lashing by the wind-carried sand.

"I have to keep both of my hands on the steering wheel," said Alcantar.

Many drivers felt a jolt as the drove through high wind speeds.

"Especially in the street where there are no buildings, all the sand just goes everywhere, we get little tornadoes," said Cathedral City resident, Elizabeth Garcia.

Garcia was directly impacted by the weather- she cancelled plans to take a trip over the weekend.

"All the dogs are inside because it's been crazy, they get scared."

A portion of Gene Autry Trail also closed off at the wash due to low visibility.

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Shelby Nelson

Shelby Nelson is a News Reporter for KESQ News Channel 3. She joined our team in September 2019 after living in San Francisco for 6 years. Learn more about Shelby here.

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