PALM SPRINGS, Calif. - A strong wind storm brought down trees and power lines. It also blew in a lot of dust and an awful smell. It's seemed to have gotten better as the day went on Monday, but now we are getting reports that people are smelling the rotten-egg odor as far away as Los Angeles.
People have told us the rancid smell was coming into their homes, even waking people up in the middle of the night. As far as where it came from, experts so far are baffled.
Yvette Hatrak smelled the odor. "It was pretty horrific and it just kind of crept in all of a sudden and everything smelled bad."
Bob Jones is visiting from Canada. "It was pretty bad actually for a little while."
Mary Levine says, "I couldn't believe it came into the house and just filled the room
The storm blew in dust and a bad smell from the southeast near the area where last month hundreds of earthquakes shook the city of Brawly. The USGS says it's unlikely earthquakes are the cause.
Dr. Lucy Jones, USGS says, "We really don't have a correlation between smells and earthquakes. I supposed if you stir up enough odd sediment in the Salton sea you might get something, but it seems much more likely that it is connected to the unusual weather being able to blow the smells up from the Salton sea."
The Salton Sea Authority agrees. They say its possible the strong winds churned up the bottom of the hot sea.
J. Andrew Schlange, Salton Sea Authority, says, "It would be sort of like a tea kettle. When it starts boiling it releases chemicals in the lake bed that come up and that is normally like methane gas, so you get the smell that is a naturally occuring thing."
People in we talked with say it's never been this bad.
Levine says, "I've lived here 16 years and I know people say they smell the Salton Sea but, I have never really been overwhelmed by it. But last night, was overwhelming."
Hatrak says, "Not that bad and not to that degree and not that quickly and not that dirty. I mean everything was really dirty really fast. The debris matched the smell when we got up this morning.'
The Salton Sea Authority says they have never seen the smell from the lake make its way out this far west.
Hatrak says,"Maybe the poor Salton Sea is getting blamed for something that is not."
The Salton Sea Authority and Air Quality officials are investigating this mysterious odor, but it maybe difficult to pin point the exact cause. One thing that we do know is that there are no health concerns with the smell.