Blowing a Gale

Palm Springs is a perfect location for a House Sitting assignment when you’re living in Los Angeles. It’s only a 2 hour drive away and is close enough for a weekend assignment. We have a couple of different home owners we’ve house sat for, and this time around we were able to help out one of them simply because they had a lockbox.

Palm Springs California Sand Storm

During a House Sitting assignment for a new home owner, I got caught in gale force winds and a blistering sand storm whilst driving back to the house from the grocery store. Palm Springs in renowned for being windy, and the valley is peppered with wind turbines, but I’ve never experienced winds and a sand storm this intense before. According to news reports it was a 40-mph dust storm, known as a haboob.

Palm Springs California Sand Storm

Whilst driving down the road, the sky became dark, and a gale force wind blew through the valley, dragging sheets of sand in it’s wake. Visibility went down to a couple of feet, and I pulled over to the side of the road to watch debris zoom swirl past the car.Palm Springs California Sand Storm

My route home, took us past a previous home we’d house sat at, and I knew they were away for the weekend (I’d been hoping to pop in and say hi). I knew they usually left their patio furniture covered but located around the pool, so I called them to see if they wanted me to check on things for them. I assumed I’d have to climb over the fence to get to their garden, and with these high winds, I wasn’t sure I’d make it over without being blown into the air. Luckily they have a lock-box, and I was able to check out the house and garden.

Sheltering in the Garage

The wind was so strong, that I had to hide in the garage until it died down enough for me to help clear up the garden, so that I could send some photos to the home owner to put their mind at rest.


The patio furniture had been over-turned, and I had to fish a couple of cushions out of the pool. DSC00398-small The grapefruit tree got a shake-down, and scattered most of it’s fruit across the lawn.DSC00400-small DSC00409-smallI spent the next couple of hours picking up the scattered furniture and moving it to safety inside the garage. Then I picked up all of the fallen grapefruit harvest, so it didn’t end up in the pool.

It was so great to be able to help our previous clients out. Think how awful it would have been for them to show up at their home and have to deal with this mess!

Lockbox for housesitters housesitFor those of you who aren’t familiar with a lockbox… here’s what one looks like. You attach the lock box to a door or post, and then put your keys inside and set the combination. Then when you need somebody to go into your house, you just give them the combination.

You Tube Video of the Haboob Wind Storm

You Tube Video of the Haboob Damage