Wind causes major damage to the valley


PALM SPRINGS, Calif. - Unyielding wind took the valley by storm.

"They're swaying up there. I didn't know a palm tree can sway as much as it does," Brent Wicklund said.

The wind took some structures down, like the canopy at St. Margaret's Episcopal Church in Palm Desert.

"It's just hanging on by two of the posts just flapping against the building now," Lane Hensley of St. Margaret's Episcopal Church said.  "It's a shade structure that covers our Labyrinth in back and it was a gift from a terrific parishioner to create a gathering place."

It's the second time this happened to the canopy because of the wind. The wind caused damaged all across the valley, also knocking down a street light at the intersection of Vista Chino and Date Palm.

"Pretty intense wind to be able to knock over a light pole," Wicklund said.

We caught crews putting the light back up wednesday afternoon, and we caught drivers braving these conditions. California Highway Patrol officers escorted drivers on Interstate 10, driving around 35 to 40 miles an hour with visibility a mere 20 feet at time.

"It's been crazy hard time driving things flying at my car people swerving all over the road," Wicklund said.

The strong winds blamed for a pile-up in the east valley involving at least 10 cars at Highway 86 near Avenue 66 in the Mecca area. Also, a CHP patrol car was hit by a tractor trailer after the officer pulled over to help a motorist on Highway 86. Fortunately,  no major injuries in these crashes.

Per Southern California Edison, there were two poles down with exposed wires in Cathedral City. While power was restored to most customers, several others will be without power until about midnight tonight. If you do come across downed power lines, make sure to back away and immediately call 911.

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