High winds, blowing sand cause road closures in Palm Springs

Several major traffic arteries closed due to sand drifts and low visibility

PALM SPRINGS, Calif. - Due to high winds, Gene Autry Drive and N. Indian Canyon Drive are both closed. As a result, the off ramps at Date Palm Drive are backing up severely. Drivers are advised to seek alternate routes, such as Highway 111, Bob Hope Drive, and Monterey Avenue to exit and/or enter the freeway.


Here are the latest road conditions as of Monday morning:

NORTH INDIAN CANYON - CLOSED south of I-10 through the White Water Wash to Tramview Road, shut down at 11p.m. Sunday.

GENE AUTRY TRAIL - CLOSED due to sand drifts and low visibility just south of the I-10 freeway to Via Escuela.

VISTA CHINO DRIVE - OPEN between Cathedral City and Palm Springs through the White Water Wash.

DATE PALM DRIVE - OPEN south of Interstate 10.

RAMON DRIVE - OPEN between Cathedral City and Palm Springs.

The California Highway Patrol urged motorists to drive carefully today with strong winds blowing dust and sand across the Coachella Valley, just as attendees of the weekend music festival were heading home.

Cars left the site of the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival this morning and lined up to get on Interstate 10 in Indio, with winds blowing sand across the freeway.

The National Weather Service issued a high wind warning for the valley and mountain areas until 9 a.m. Tuesday, saying the winds were likely to cause blowing dust and sand, reducing visibility and making driving hazardous.

"The blowing sand and dust limits visibility (and) is posing a hazard to all drivers, not just those driving high-profile, lightweight vehicles," CHP Officer Joe Zagorski said.

In Palm Springs, North Indian Canyon Drive was closed in both directions between Garnet Avenue and Tramview Road because of sand covering the road and low visibility, and Gene Autry Trail was closed in both directions between I-10 and Via Escuela. Palm Springs police and the CHP asked motorists to use Bob Hope Drive, Monterey Avenue, Ramon Road and Highway 111 as alternate routes.

According to the CHP, drivers should turn on their headlights, slow down to avoid debris and drive in right lanes. Those driving at low speeds should turn on their hazard lights.

According to an NWS advisory, sustained winds of 25 to 35 mph and gusts of up to 60 mph were expected, along with isolated gusts of up to 75 mph.

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