Former President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama landed at March Air Reserve Base in Riverside on Friday evening after inclement weather forced their aircraft to divert from the Palm Springs International Airport.
The plane had not yet arrived in Palm Springs by 4:45 p.m. PT, about six hours after the couple left Donald Trump’s inauguration in Washington, D.C. Stormy weather kept the aircraft at bay, airport executive director Tom Nolan said. The Obamas instead landed around 5:45 p.m. at March, onlookers confirmed.
On the dreary, windswept afternoon, the Obamas’ plane flew over the airport twice and circled the area for more than 40 minutes because of the bad weather, according to air traffic control transmissions.
By late morning, low clouds covered the valley, high winds rocked the area and rain flooded the streets of Palm Springs.
Even as the rain poured, onlookers waited under the cover of umbrellas and raincoats near the airport to watch the former president arrive in Palm Springs.
A staff member at the Palm Springs Air Museum, located next to the airport, said the museum has received more phone calls about Obama’s arrival on Friday than any other time he visited the valley during his presidency.
As Susan Walker of Phoenix waited at the airport, she said she was excited to see the Obamas, whom she called “fabulous people,” arrive after a “tough day” for many Americans.
“I think they’re people to look up to and respect, and I think Michelle is the most amazing woman we’ve ever had in the White House,” said Walker, who has a 21-year-old daughter. “She’s the kind of woman I want my daughter to grow up to be.”
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SOURCE: USA Today; The (Palm Springs, Calif.) Desert Sun, Christopher Weddle