Tuesday, March 6, 2012 | 7:05 p.m.
Dust clouds and high winds Tuesday in the Las Vegas Valley caused power outages, flight delays and road closures and put the brakes on at least a couple of high-profile roller coasters.
“We have scattered outages throughout the valley because of high winds,” said Kelly Mulroy, spokeswoman with NV Energy, who put the number of customers without power Tuesday afternoon at 14,000.
Outages began around 12 p.m. at residential and commercial properties in various areas of the valley, including around Martin Luther King Boulevard, Spring Mountain and Blue Diamond roads, Mulroy said.
Power crews are out working on restoring power, Mulroy said.
Meanwhile, high winds took their toll on flights at McCarran International Airport.
“We have delays on flight arrivals and departures,” said Candice Seeley, McCarran spokeswoman.
More than 20 incoming flights were held up in departure cities, said Seeley, adding that flights also had been canceled due to high winds.
Those flying in or out of Las Vegas were urged to check flight information at McCarran’s website.
Winds of up to 63 mph were recorded at McCarran, according to the National Weather Service.
Training flights were not affected at Nellis Air Force Base, a spokesman said.
“We’ve continued flying operations,” said Lt. Ken Lustig, who added that extra precautions were taken to secure all aircraft on the ground.
U.S. Air Force pilots, along with their counterparts from the United Kingdom and Australia, are currently engaged in Red Flag, a high intensity air-to-air combat exercise that started on Feb. 27 and runs until March 16 at Nellis.
According to the National Weather Service, strong winds will continue this evening and overnight. A high-wind warning is in effect until 4 a.m.
Gusts between 60 to 70 miles are being felt around the valley, said Stan Czyzyk, meteorologist with the weather service. Winds at Red Rock were recorded as high as 77 mph.
The highest we’ve gotten a report on was in Pahrump with an 85 mph gust, Czyzyk said.
High winds blew at Hoover Dam.
A suspension cable snapped due to the high winds and hit a semi-truck on the U.S. 93 bypass bridge near Hoover Dam, according to Trooper Loy Hixson, Nevada Highway Patrol. No injuries were reported.
The snapped cable caused investigators to close the bridge from around 4 p.m. to 5:40 p.m. and traffic headed in both directions was detoured, Hixson said. The road over Hoover Dam also was closed around 5 p.m. due to high winds.
“I tell people, ‘If you can, stay home,’” said Hixson, adding that the winds caused “a lot of traffic light outages and road way debris.”
According to Metro Police an advertising truck carrying a billboard up and down the Strip flipped over near Mandalay Bay.
Police responded around 2:43 p.m. to the wind-whipped accident near Russell Road and Las Vegas Boulevard, police said. The driver suffered minor injuries and the truck was towed into the Mandalay Bay event center parking lot, police said.
Las Vegas Boulevard was narrowed down to one lane and traffic was diverted Hacienda Avenue, police said.
Roads weren’t all that were closed.
The Stratosphere and New York New York Hotel and Casino shut down their roller coaster operations due to the high winds.
The combination of dust and wind also challenged those with a variety of ailments.
“It’s bad out here,” said Dr. Daliah Wachs, who hosts the “Doctor Daliah” radio show on KDWN-AM 720.
For those with asthma or other respiratory conditions, Wachs said, “this is not the best time to be outside.”
“Check in with a doctor to see in any medicines should be changed,” said Wachs, who has operated a family medical practice for 12 years.
The winds could also affect cardiac patients and those who suffer from sinus problems, she said.
“It’s difficult to get a pollen count because it’s blowing all over the place,” she said.
Wachs said those who wear contact lenses may also have issues with the increased dust.
“With the limited amount of rain we’ve had, it’s made the dust worse,” said Czyzyk, adding Tuesday’s winds also brought warmer temperatures in the mid 70s to the valley.
According to the weather service, it’ll be breezy Wednesday, too. But unlike Tuesday, wind gusts should top out around 30 mph and high temperatures are expected to drop to the mid-50s.