Windy city: Powerful gusts spur power outages across Las Vegas Valley – Las Vegas Review-Journal

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Powerful winds and even stronger gusts overtook the Las Vegas Valley Saturday, delaying flights, leaving tens of thousands without electricity and scattering trees and other debris across neighborhoods and roads.

The National Weather Service, however, said that after two days of punishing gusts, conditions were expected to significantly improve Sunday.

Just under 29,000 NV Energy customers were without electricity Saturday afternoon, with that number dwindling down to nearly 18,000 by the early evening, with no restoration time estimates, the utility company reported.

A large outage in the Anthem area in Henderson had knocked out some 7,000 customers Saturday morning.

“Most of those customers have been restored,” NV Energy spokeswoman Meghin Delaney said late afternoon.

Delaney added that 200 line people and 100 support staff were working to restore power “as fast as possible.”

The Fashion Show Mall on the Strip lost power in the afternoon. Half the shops and escalators were shut down, and it was reported that the underground garage was nearly devoid of light.

Las Vegas police reported weather-related road disruptions.

“Due to extreme wind conditions, various areas around the valley have been affected,” Metropolitan Police Department Lt. Aaron Lee said.

He mentioned debris on roads, fallen trees and a significant power outage in the southwest valley.

Traffic lights were not working at U.S. 95 and Rainbow Boulevard, and Main Street in downtown Las Vegas was temporarily shut down due to hotel signage coming loose, Lee said.

The weather service reported a 68 mph wind gust in the afternoon at Harry Reid International Airport, one of the service’s official measuring sites. That was the highest measured wind gust for March reported there in nearly 40 years, the weather service noted.

Conditions were more intense at Red Rock Canyon, which reported a peak gust of 72 mph.

The record gust for the Las Vegas Valley for March was 82 mph, which was measured on March 21, 1984, according to the weather service. The all-time strongest wind measurement in the valley, 90 mph, was recorded on Aug. 8, 1989, and was due to a thunderstorm.

About a half inch of rain had fallen near Mount Charleston since midnight Saturday, while a quarter inch was reported at the Red Rock Canyon Visitor’s Center. Other northwest valley gauges showed from .04 of an inch to two-tenths of an inch.

A warning for the Spring Mountains indicated possible gusts up to 85 mph with white-out conditions possible. Up to 12 inches of snow was forecast for the mountains.

Early Saturday afternoon, Flightaware, a flight-tracking service, had reported heavy delays for incoming flights at Harry Reid airport, with an average lateness of near two hours. Departing flights were delayed on average by just over 15 minutes.

The flight-tracking website had reported 48 flight cancellations as of Saturday afternoon.

The weather service said the strongest winds would begin tampering Saturday night and “slowly ease” through midnight. “It will remain gusty much of the night though!” the service wrote on social media.

Meteorologists projected patchy blowing dust by the morning Sunday, with the forecast calling for a sunny day with southwest winds blowing between 20 to 25 mph, and a high in the lower 60s.

Sunday evening should include mostly clear conditions with an expected low in the low 40s and winds blowing between 5 to 14 mph, the weather service said.

Contact Ricardo Torres-Cortez at [email protected]. Contact Marvin Clemons at [email protected]. Review-Journal digital content producer Madelon Hynes contributed to this report.

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