Chilly, Stormy Start for 2012 Coachella Valley Festival

April 13, 2012; 5:58 AM ET
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An art installation provides shade for festival goers on the last day of the Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival, Sunday, April 17, 2011, in Indio, Calif. On April 17, 2011, temperatures peaked near 85 degrees. Much higher temperatures are forecast for next weekend. However, the first weekend of this year's festival will be much cooler and there could be showers according to AccuWeather.com. (AP Photo/Spencer Weiner)

Unusual chill and localized gusty showers will kick off this year's Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival at Indio, Calif.

According to Western Weather Expert Ken Clark, "The second of two storms hitting the West Coast this week will pack the biggest punch."

The first system rolled in earlier this week and was traversing the Rockies. However, precipitation in the form of low-elevation rain showers and resort-level snow was orientated north-south.

While the first system provided beneficial rain to portions of the San Joaquin Valley, it only brought very spotty shower activity to the deserts of Southern California.

The second system is the more potent of the two and will push inland with more vigor. As a result, it has a greater chance of producing at least a couple of showers over the Coachellla Valley and the deserts into early Saturday.


The storm system is likely to kick up stiff breezes and some blowing dust, a concern for tents and exhibits.

Daytime temperatures will also be unusually cool for the first day or two of the festival.


There is also the potential for a gusty thunderstorm.

While a couple of showers are one thing, a localized gusty thunderstorm is another and nearly impossible to pinpoint ahead of time.

Folks attending and/or camping at the festival may want to have a plan of action in case one of the storms were to hit the Empire Polo Club area in Indio.

Related: Music Festival Survival Guide

The Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival features multiple days of music covering many genres that span this coming weekend and the next.

Temperatures will rebound from their cool levels later this weekend.


AccuWeather.com is projecting temperatures to only peak in the middle 60s to lower 70s Friday and Saturday.

Highs on Sunday will reach well into the 70s. Temperatures will continue to trend upward next week. By next weekend, highs will be well into the 90s under traditional blazing sunshine.

"April is not usually a very stormy month for California, especially in the south. April is usually the transitioning time between the winter storms and the warmer, more tranquil weather of summer," Clark said.

Clark is projecting up to several feet of snow to fall from both storms at the Sierra Nevada resorts and the high country, as well as a dual storm total of 1/2 to 1 inch of rain for the Los Angeles Basin.

"As for the Coachella Festival, while there is the risk of a couple of gusty showers (or a thunderstorm), it should not be another Woodstock," Clark added.

This story was originally published Wednesday, April 11, 2012 and has been updated.

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