Powerful windstorm rips through Las Vegas, widespread damage reported

Powerful windstorm rips through Las Vegas, widespread damage reported

More than 44 000 customers were left without power as powerful windstorm ripped through Las Vegas, Nevada late Thursday, March 30, 2017. The storm produced severe dust storm and reduced visibility to zero, toppled numerous trees and power poles and caused major air and traffic disruptions. It was the strongest windstorm the city has seen in 5 years.

The fast-moving cold front shook Nevada from top to bottom Thursday, dropping more snow in the Sierra Nevada and pelting the middle of the state with rain and hail as it barreled off to the northeast, the AP reported.

In Las Vegas, the winds snapped a series of telephone poles a few blocks east of the Strip where power lines fell on several cars, trapping people inside their vehicles. The National Weather Service recorded winds gusting to 132 km/h (82 mph) at the Red Rock Conservation Area west of Las Vegas, 114 km/h (71 mph) in North Las Vegas and 97 km/h (60 mph) at McCarran International Airport, where numerous flights have been delayed.

McCarran International Airport spokeswoman Christine Crews said the Federal Aviation Administration ordered a hold about 13:00 PDT on departures of commercial flights from other airports to Las Vegas. The hold was lifted less than an hour later, but the FAA said some arriving flights are delayed more than 90 minutes and some departing flights are delayed up to 30 minutes.

Northbound Interstate 15 at St. Rose Parkway was closed for about two hours after semitrailers rolled over on the road. Other roads around the valley were closed after downed power lines and trees too, KTNV reported.

At Monte Carlo hotel-casino, a small, outside construction wall got blown into the Monte Carlo after being knocked loose because of the wind. The food court was closed while they cleaned up. There was a minor injury to a guest who was being treated on scene, KTNV said. Windows were broken at Palms hotel-casino as a result of the winds and there are also reports of extensive damage around the valley, including downed trees and power lines.

More than 44 000 customers were without power in Clark County, NV Energy said. As of 23:25 PDT, about 16 000 remain without power. Clark County said their Public Works Department responded to 60 downed tree calls tonight, mostly on East side.

A dust storm warning was issued during the afternoon hours, originally set to go through 19:00 PDT, and extended through 23:00 PDT (06:00 UTC, March 31). Officials have urged the public to stay indoors until the storm passes. 

Featured image: Powerful wind storm rips through Las Vegas, Nevada on March 30, 2017. Credit: Sambalatte


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