Rain closes roads in Palm Springs on Christmas Eve


A rainy and humid Christmas weekend is expected in the Coachella Valley, with the National Weather Service now forecasting more than an inch of rain in most areas of the Coachella Valley. Check back here for updates as the weather system moves across Southern California.

The Palm Springs Aerial Tramway, which was scheduled to start operating at 8 a.m., delayed its opening today due to “extreme weather conditions,” according to a Facebook post from the tram at around 9:30 am.

The tram could reopen around 2 p.m., but that’s not final, according to a comment from tram officials on the Facebook post.

– Erin Rode

Palm Springs rainfall up to 0.83 inches

Palm Springs received 0.83 inches of rain at 9:15 a.m. Friday, according to the latest precipitation totals released by the National Weather Service.

Desert Hot Springs received 1.45 inches, while other cities in the Coachella Valley saw less rain. So far 0.16 inch of rain has been recorded in Cathedral City, with 0.20 inch in Coachella.

– Erin Rode

Storm destroys part of State Route 18

The storm swept away part of State Route 18, one of the main routes to mountain communities in the San Bernardino Mountains.

State Route 18 will remain closed in both directions between 40th Street in San Bernardino and Highway 138. The closure will last several days, “even weeks”, according to Caltrans.

National roads 330 and 38 remain open, and national road 18 in the Lucerne valley is also open. There is currently no access to Big Bear from State Route 330. Caltrans advises avoiding travel on mountain roads on Fridays.

– Erin Rode

Rain in Palm Springs will total 0.74 inches by Friday morning

Palm Springs received 0.74 inches of rain early Friday morning, with totals of half an inch or more reported over most of the northwest Coachella Valley, according to the National Weather Service.

Precipitation totals are declining in the southeastern part of the valley, with areas like Coachella and Thermal receiving nearly a tenth to a quarter of an inch of rain so far.

Rain is expected to continue throughout the morning, with most precipitation expected to subside by late morning, according to Elizabeth Schenk, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in San Diego.

The Coachella Valley could see between a tenth of an inch to a quarter of an inch of rain before the precipitation ends, then we expect to see a break from the rain – until Saturday afternoon.

“In the Coachella Valley, you’ll probably be dry until early tomorrow morning, then the chances of rain will increase again tomorrow afternoon,” Schenk said.

This rain is expected to be “much lighter than what we are currently seeing,” with expected totals between one-tenth of an inch and two-tenths of an inch of rain, according to Schenk.

– Erin Rode

Several roads are closed in Palm Springs early Friday due to flooding, according to the Palm Springs Police Department.

  • East Vista Chino is closed from Gene Autry to the limits of Cathedral City.
  • The North Gene Autry Trail is closed from Interstate 10 to East Via Escuela.
  • Indian Canyon Drive is closed from Tramview Road to Palm Springs Station Road.

The ministry did not provide estimated hours of operation.

– Kate Franco

The National Weather Service has issued a winter storm warning for Palm Springs elevations above 7,000 feet from 10:03 PM Thursday through noon Friday. This includes the San Jacinto Mountains, which have a maximum elevation of almost 11,000 feet.

The Palm Springs Aerial Tramway Hill Station sits at an elevation of 8,516 feet.

Heavy, wet snow will make travel in these areas difficult if not impossible, according to the National Weather Service. Damage to trees and power lines is also possible.

Wet snow accumulations of between 10 and 16 inches are expected, with some amounts reaching 32 inches at altitudes above 8,500 feet.

– Maria Sestito

More heavy rains are expected throughout the Coachella Valley from Thursday evening through Friday morning, starting around midnight and continuing until mid-morning, according to Matt Moreland, a meteorologist with the San Diego National Weather Service.

“Almost everything is still on track,” Moreland said just before 9pm. The Coachella Valley should expect an average precipitation total of between 1 and 1.5 inches, he said. The heaviest rainfall will occur west of Palm Springs, with totals between 2 and 3 inches in Cabazon, Banning and Beaumont.

“We will see the Whitewater River west of Palm Springs start to flow through some of the Palm Springs canals,” Moreland said. This could impact low-water crossings in the region, he added.

The passing storm has some potential to cause thunderstorms, but it’s more likely along the coast, Moreland said.

High temperatures in the valley are expected to stay in the 60s on Friday and stay cool until next week. There will also be some additional risk of rain.

“We should see a break in the rain Friday night late into the night of Saturday morning,” Moreland said. More rain can arrive by Saturday afternoon; however, it will be lighter than Friday.

The Coachella Valley won’t have a sunny day for at least a week, according to Moreland.

“There can be a bit of sun here and there between thunderstorms,” he said.

A third thunderstorm is possible on Monday.

– Maria Sestito

The National Weather Service issued a flood advisory for Palm Springs at 8:20 p.m. Thursday. The notice is in effect until 11:30 p.m.

Flooding is expected in parts of Riverside and San Bernardino counties, including northwestern Palm Springs, due to heavy rains, according to the National Weather Service.

Flooding had already occurred in the advisory areas at 8:20 p.m. Precipitation was between 0.5 and 3 inches – an additional 0.5 to 2 inches is expected.

– Maria Sestito

Palm Springs’ weekly street fair, VillageFest, was canceled Thursday night due to weather concerns, including “forecasted precipitation, a flash flood warning and high winds.” The organizers made the announcement on Facebook just after 2 p.m.

The event is typically held Thursdays from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. along Palm Canyon Drive.

– Maria Sestito

Boulders roll on the mountain highway near Idyllwild

A precipitation-triggered rock slide disrupted travel on Highway 243 near Idyllwild on Thursday, but no injuries or damage were reported.

The slip occurred around 1 p.m. in the northbound lane of 243 north of the mountain community, according to the California Highway Patrol.

The agency said the freeway remained open and motorists apparently skirted the small “rocks”.

It was not clear if Caltrans teams were on their way to clear the rocks.

The area had been under cover of light to moderate rain since Tuesday morning as a system of storm expected to last until Christmas moved east over the San Bernardino National Forest.

– City information service

The heaviest rains are expected to fall from midnight to around 9 a.m. Friday, according to Dan Gregoria, a NWS meteorologist based in San Diego.

An “atmospheric river” is moving towards southern California on Thursday, bringing heavy precipitation to the area.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration defines atmospheric rivers as “a relatively long and narrow region of the atmosphere – like rivers in the sky – which carry most of the water vapor out of the tropics.”

The National Weather Service issued a flood watch from midnight Thursday to noon Friday due to heavy rains. Flood monitoring includes the Coachella Valley, the San Gorgonio Pass and a wide swath of southwestern Southern California, and is driven by forecasts that predict “too much, too fast,” rainfall, according to Gregoria.

Travelers on the San Gorgonio Pass should be especially careful as they could receive heavy rain as early as Thursday evening as the storm is arriving from the west. Areas west of the pass could receive up to 2-3 inches of rain.

“Motorists should use extreme caution as heavy rain could reduce visibility,” said Gregoria.

The storm could also cause flooding and debris flows to areas near the burn scars, including the burn scars of Apple and El Dorado.

– Erin Rode


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