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Stormy valley weather downs trees, blasts dust, suspends tennis at BNP

Stormy weather Monday had far-reaching effects across the valley from downed trees to blowing dust and sand, even suspending play temporarily at the BNP Paribas Open.

Athletes were led off the tennis courts Monday night in Indian Wells as a storm system brought rain and damaging winds.

Out on the roadways, pockets of wind carried dirt and debris into the air. Blowing dust and sand reduced visibility, making for a difficult commute on the interstate for some drivers.

"It's super windy," Monica Martinez said. "You definitely have to have both hands on the wheel. Random little bursts of sand come in. Definitely had to be careful with the trailers; there's been a couple people swerving."

"Definitely visibility is an issue, and mostly trucks that are bigger and can't really take the wind as much," Lucas Hatch said. "It's moving them around and moving them across lanes."

A trailer caught fire on the side of the 10 freeway near Whitewater Monday afternoon. CalFire said the flames spread to nearby brush but were quickly contained in just 10 minutes. With peak gusts more than 60 miles per hour in the area, it's still under investigation whether wind was a factor there.

A warning was issued and later extended at Palm Springs International Airport. The National Weather Service issued an airport weather warning saying that gusts could reach up to 45 miles per hour.

Blowing sand above the airport briefly took on rotation as a dust devil formed.

And as high winds swept the valley, trees toppled over, including one ripped from its roots at a La Quinta shopping center.

Minor SCE power outages were reported for customers in Palm Springs, Cabazon, Morongo Valley and Joshua Tree. IID did not immediately confirm whether there were outages for its customers.

Jake Ingrassia

Joining News Channel 3 and CBS Local 2 as a reporter, Jake is excited to be launching his broadcasting career here in the desert. Learn more about Jake here.

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