A significant storm system originating off the Gulf of Alaska continued to douse the Coachella Valley Thursday and is expected to bring up to two inches of rain to the desert floor and possible flooding.
Heavy rain could amount to one to two inches in the Coachella Valley as a low-pressure system flowing in from the West Coast moves eastward, the National Weather Service said.
Updated local precipitation totals as of 10 a.m. show Cactus City, east of Indio at 1,700 feet elevation, has received the most rainfall Thursday at 0.91 inches. Sky Valley, at 1,065 feet elevation, saw 0.82 inches rain. Readings at Thermal Airport show 0.66 inches of rain; 0.59 inches in Desert Hot Springs; 0.59 in Indio; 0.55 in Thousand Palms; 0.47 in Palm Desert and 0.35 at Palm Springs Airport.
While the bulk of the storm has passed the area, lingering showers are expected to drop another half-inch of rain throughout the day, said NWS meteorologist Adam Roser.
By 10 p.m., rainfall should make way for a mostly cloudy 43-degree night with northwest winds between 5 and 10 miles per hour.
In the nearby mountains, about 4 to 8 inches of snow is expected at elevations beginning at 4,000 feet, according to the NWS, with amounts increasing to 1 to 2 feet at 6,000 feet. The snow level could drop to 3,000 feet. Updated snow totals are expected to trickle in Thursday afternoon.
Near the summit of San Jacinto Peak, the endpoint of the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway — about 8,500 feet elevation — could see upwards of two feet of snow.
With rain comes the possibility of flooding, especially along the channels coming out of the neighboring mountainous areas, including the San Jacinto range.
According to the NWS, several inches of rain could hit lower desert slopes and foothills surrounding the valley, with the water expected to run off into the desert and flow southward toward Indio by midday.
The runoff is expected to saturate the valley’s normally dry washes and creeks as it travels through the Palm Springs area along the Coachella Stormwater Channel and into Indio by Thursday evening.
Dangerous fast-moving water could develop in the valley and could spur road closures Thursday, the NWS warned.
“The flow will impact low-water crossings with possible closures, and may create dangerous swift-water areas through the valley,” according to the NWS.
The rain is anticipated to taper off Friday, making way for a warmer weekend, but water will most likely remain in local canals going into Friday, according to the NWS.
Palm Springs receives on average 5.74 inches or rain each year, according to data collected since 1922, meaning this weather event could supply almost half of that.
Thermal receives about 3.2 inches on average per year, and is expected to see an inch to an inch-and-a-half of rain, a significant drop in the bucket compared to the community’s expected average.
Temperatures in the low 50s are expected in the Coachella Valley Thursday, with lows dipping into the low 40s come nightfall.
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