Gusty winds were forecast to buffet the Coachella Valley, Riverside County mountains and the San Gorgonio Pass Monday, with the most powerful gusts expected late Monday afternoon and into this evening, meteorologists said.

The National Weather Service issued a high wind warning scheduled to last until 5 a.m. Tuesday. It signifies that a “hazardous high wind event is expected or occurring” and that sustained wind speeds of at least 40 mph can be expected, with gusts up to 70 mph, which could lead to property damage.

The high wind warning covered the Coachella Valley, the mountains, including Idyllwild-Pine Cove, and the San Gorgonio Pass near Banning and Desert Hot Springs.

Sustained winds of 30 to 40 mph are expected, with gusts to 65 mph, the NWS said. Isolated gusts up to 75 mph will be possible near the foothills of the mountains and in the northern Coachella Valley below the San Gorgonio Pass. Powerful winds could whip up sand and dust, reducing visibility at times.

“The winds will make driving difficult, especially for motorists with high profile vehicles,” the NWS meteorologists said. “This will impact portions of Interstate 10 through the San Gorgonio Pass toward the Coachella Valley … Areas of blowing dust and sand will reduce visibility at times. Watch for broken tree limbs and other debris.”

Forecasters expect the winds to weaken late Monday evening and into Tuesday morning, with the strongest sustained winds and gusts expected Monday afternoon and evening. Though the winds will die down by mid-morning Tuesday, another round of strong west wind is expected for Wednesday night into Thursday night.

Accompanying the winds Monday will be partly cloudy skies and warm weather in the desert and cool weather in the mountains. Highs Monday will be 80 to 85 degrees in the Coachella Valley, 72 to 77 in the San Gorgonio Pass and 52 to 62 in the mountains.

Mild and cool weather is expected west of the mountains Monday. Partly cloudy skies will cover the Riverside metropolitan area Monday, where highs are expected to be in the mid-60s.

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