Las Vegas forecast: Heavy winds to blow out; calmer weather to follow

The high winds and cold fronts associated with the early spring are due to clear out soon, but not without one last hurrah.

The National Weather Service’s Las Vegas office issued a high wind warning for Clark County, and the Lake Mead National Recreation Area from 8 p.m. on Saturday through 5 p.m. on Sunday.

Residents of the Summerlin, Sun City, Lone Mountain, Centennial Hills and Tule Springs areas of the valley should expect the strongest gusts, as high as 60 mph.

The weather service warned of blowing dust after 11 p.m., with a west wind 16-21 mph and north winds blowing 30-40 mph in the evening.

The winds are blowing in on the heels of a cold front headed north. Typically these kinds of patterns die off as the season progresses into the summer and monsoon weather.

Sustained winds of at least 40 mph and gusts of at least 50 mph can lead to property damage. Driving may be made difficult, and blowing dust may impact visibility. Strong winds will create choppy waters and large waves, making it dangerous at Lake Mead for small boats.

But there may be a greater hazard.

The Las Vegas Fire Department took to social media to warn that this blustery weather increases the risk of fires spreading.

Dan Berc, a meteorologist with the weather service, said these conditions are conducive to “explosive fire growth.”

A Red Flag Warning was issued, meaning critical fire weather conditions are present or possible. Strong winds combined with a low relative humidity — between 10 and 15 percent, in this case — and dried-out grasses and trees create conditions that favor extreme fire behavior, such as wildfires.

Sunday should be sunny and breezy, with a north wind about 25 mph, gusts as high as 38 mph, and a high near 77.

The weather will warm up Monday, and winds will die down to about 10 mph. Temperatures should return to the mid-90s about Thursday.

Contact Wesley Juhl at wjuhl@reviewjournal.com and 702-383-0281. Find him on Twitter: @WesJuhl.