High impact storm brings wind ahead of rain to Coachella Valley

Storm Preparations - KESQ 5PM

THOUSAND PALMS, Calif. - UPDATE: 6:56 p.m. 

Before moving to Arkansas, Larry Ingels called the Southland home for years, and even went through his fair share of stormy weather. 


"It seems to come fast and furious," Ingels said. "You've got to just slow down, and pay attention to what's going on around you. It can get interesting fast if you're not paying attention." 


Even knowing his way around roads during storms. 


When I was living out here, and I've noticed since I've come back, people go fast," Ingels said. "All I can say is please slow down. Because when something happens weather-wise, it can catch you off guard very fast."


While winds kicked up throughout much of the valley Friday, local CAL FIRE crews were getting to ready to help residents in an area that's no stranger to storms. 


"Most people live through this for years, especially long-time residents," CAL FIRE Captain Fernando Herrera said. "So they do prepare, but there are people that don't."


Herrera said local fire stations like the one in Thousand Palms have sand mounds open for residents to fill any sandbags to prepare for the weather. 


He said he also recommends having an emergency kit ready, if needed. 


Meanwhile, car mechanics at Sergio's Automotive said they've been working with customers keeping their car maintenance in check, helping them get set before a storm, especially during a holiday weekend. 


"Surprisingly, the fact that there's not that much rain out here, a lot of the drivers aren't aware of how to drive in the rain," Auto Technician Sergio Ceballos said.


Technicians said they recommend not only checking your tires, but also your brakes and suspension before heading out on the road during the rain. 


Some other tips Ceballos recommends include checking the splash guard underneath your car if it has one.


For more tips from CAL FIRE and on how to drive safely during strong winds and rain, click the links in the earlier version of this story below. 


ORIGINAL STORY: 4:52 p.m. 

A powerful storm with the potential to cause severe damage is expected to hit the Coachella Valley on Friday, and we aren't expected to dry out until Sunday. The rain is approaching the same day as the opening of the Riverside County Fair & National Date Festival.

Jeremy Chen was live from the fair at 12 p.m. where he took a ride on the 'Slingshot', launching hundreds of feet into the air while he was live on TV. Organizers said the fair will go on rain or shine.

Storm Safety tips from Riverside County Fire Department

Download the First Alert Weather App for iTunes and Android.

KESQ News Channel 3 and CBS Local 2's First Alert Weather Team is tracking the storm for you. We're expecting rain in the Coachella Valley at about 4 p.m. and continuing through the evening. Wind speeds are expected to reach 20 MPH with wind gusts up to 30 MPH.

The greatest potential for wind damage will be between 2 p.m. and midnight.

The storm has the potential to down trees and knock down power lines, causing hazardous driving conditions and power outages. High Wind Warning strongest and biggest potential for damage between 2 p.m. and midnight. beginning midday and continuing through the evening, with wind gusts up to 60 MPH from the coast to the desert. Isolated wind gusts up to 75 MPH are not out of the question, with the power to down trees and cause power outages.

Some flights were canceled at Palm Springs International Airport Friday afternoon due to the strong Pacific storm.

There is a Flash Flood Watch for Southern California Friday afternoon through Saturday, with the greatest chance of impact between 2:15 p.m. and midnight on Friday.

KESQ and CBS Local 2's Zak Dahlheimer is looking into how communities are preparing for possible flash floods in the valley. He'll bring you those important details as the rain approaches.

How to drive safely in strong wind and rain

And remember, even when it's not raining on the valley floor, rain in nearby mountains can result in heavy water flow in a short period of time. You should take extra caution when crossing, walking or playing in the channel or washes before or during a storm, according to a reminder sent out by the Coachella Valley Water District.

The Coachella Valley Water District sent out a reminder to the public to use caution during storms.


Flood watches affecting more than 20 million people have been posted for the southern portion of the state, including Los Angeles and San Diego.

The storm will bring damaging winds and possible flooding into the afternoon and evening hours. We are expecting snow showers in the mountains, winter storm warning for Big Bear and mountain regions, rain and snow with areas of fog and mostly cloudy skies, southerly winds up to 40 MPH and wind gusts up to 60 MPH, possible snow accumulation is up to 3 inches.

Watch for snow falling at the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway

We'll have cloudy conditions throughout the day Friday and Saturday, and we'll be drying out on Sunday. 

Lake Oroville residents remain vigilant as storm approaches


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