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Traffic heavy across the Coachella Valley following weekend 1 of Coachella

COACHELLA VALLEY, Calif. - - As the Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival's first weekend wrapped up in Indio, around 40,000 campers who slept off the festivities overnight departed the Coachella Valley today, clogging freeway lanes heading out of the desert.
   
Traffic along westbound Interstate 10 and Highway 111 out of Palm Springs was moving sluggishly Monday afternoon.


   
Morning traffic congestion on Interstate 10 stretched from Jefferson Street in Indio to Monterey Avenue in Palm Desert, but had shifted westward to Date Palm Drive in Cathedral City all the way to Calimesa as of 2 p.m.
   
Outbound Highway 111, which connects with Interstate 10 heading out of Palm Springs, was also heavily congested Monday afternoon.
   
The California Highway Patrol reported that vehicles were moving at around 10 to 15 miles per hour through the desert, but that traffic was dissipating in the Banning Pass area, where motorists were able to speed up to around 55 mph. Traffic was much lighter on the 60 Freeway where it meets Interstate 10 in Beaumont, according to an online Caltrans traffic map.
   
A major multi-vehicle crash that seriously injured four people shut down an eastbound stretch of Interstate 10 near Desert Hot Springs just after 5 a.m. However, no such wrecks had been reported through Monday afternoon heading west, where the bulk of Coachella attendees were traveling.
   
Caltrans advised commuters to travel early in the morning or late in the evening, if possible, to avoid the worst of the congestion.
   
Drivers who avoided the morning traffic were also advised to prepare for possible windy conditions this afternoon in the Coachella Valley, with areas of blowing sand and dust forecast by the National Weather Service. A high wind warning issued this afternoon warned of winds around 20 to 30 mph, with gusts up to 45 mph.
   
The strongest winds were expected to be concentrated north and east of Interstate 10, mostly occurring in the afternoon and evening. The warning is set to expire at 5 a.m. Tuesday, with winds expected to weaken beginning late tonight into early tomorrow.
   
In the San Gorgonio Pass, winds were expected to be stronger today, reaching 30 to 40 mph, with gusts up to 65 mph. Isolated gusts up to 75 mph were expected near the foothills of the mountains and in the northern Coachella Valley below the pass.
   
The festival starts up again Friday at the Empire Polo Grounds. Beyonce, Eminem and the Weeknd are headlining, with more than 150 acts also slated to perform across seven stages.

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