Barack Obama and his family will fly to Palm Springs Friday for a sunny vacation in his first trip after becoming a private citizen, but one of three Pacific storms may make their stay a bit soggy.
How much golf the outgoing president will get in over the coming days is uncertain. On earlier visits to the Coachella Valley, Obama played golf with boyhood friends at courses in Palm Springs, La Quinta and Rancho Mirage, but the rain expected to blanket the Coachella Valley over the next few days may take one of his favorite activities off the agenda. Three storms are expected between Thursday and Monday.
The White House said the Obamas would attend the inauguration of Donald Trump Friday, then fly to Palm Springs from Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland. The Obamas are expected to fly on the same plane that he used as president, although it won’t be called Air Force One until Donald Trump rides it.
White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said Obama “vowed to take his family to a destination that is warmer than Washington, D.C., on Friday.” And technically, that will happen — a high of 59 degrees is expected in Palm Springs Friday, while Washington, D.C., will see a high of 49 degrees, according to the National Weather Service.
The first of a trio of thunderstorms arrived Wednesday night and will last through tonight, according to the National Weather Service. The second storm is expected Friday morning, with its heaviest rains expected to fall that afternoon. Scattered showers are forecast through Saturday. A third storm will move in Sunday, with its heaviest rains coming Sunday evening.
Obama will be far from the only golfer looking to the skies over the weekend. The CareerBuilder Challenge, formerly known as the Bob Hope Classic, will be held in La Quinta starting Thursday, featuring 156 pro golfers at three courses throughout the city. The tournament will continue through Sunday.
In the Coachella Valley, the Obamas will stay in Rancho Mirage at the home of outgoing U.S. ambassador to Spain James Costos and his husband, interior designer Michael Smith, who’s been the White House decorator since 2008, the celebrity news website TMZ.com reported. The house is inside the Thunderbird Heights gated community. Obama has stayed at the home four times during his presidency.
Anyone coming in or out of the property will face restrictions, according to TMZ , with security planning to keep the number of visitors to a minimum and to check.
The visit is likely to give new life to rumors circulating for years that the Obamas plan to buy a home at Thunderbird Heights.
Palm Springs Airport officials said that travelers flying in and out of Palm Springs International Airport on Friday shouldn’t expect to be held up when Obama arrives.
The airport’s executive director, Tom Nolan, said he could not speak to changes the airport might make to security or operations regarding Obama’s arrival, but he said travelers should not worry about any delays to flights or restricted access to parking lots or terminals.
Nolan said security at the airport would be just as tight whether the traveler was “an acting president or a non-acting president.”
“This is a community that the president has visited on a number of occasions as president of the United States,” Earnest said. “He and his family have enjoyed the time they spent there in the past.”
Nolan said the city and the airport are “flattered” by the attention, especially being the first place Obama will visit in the post-presidential chapter of his life.
— City News Service