Thousands of valley residents experienced power outages when strong winds pummeled the valley Tuesday night.
NV Energy spokesman Mark Severts said utility workers, called “Trouble Men,” started going out on calls about 7 p.m. Multiple major distribution lines were disrupted by the wind, Severts said. Momentary outages were caused by a branch being blown into the lines or by the wind pushing two lines into each other.
“Obviously on such a windy night like tonight, most of it will be weather-related,” he said.
More than 1,000 customers in the area around Sam’s Town, near Boulder Highway and Flamingo Road, suffered a power outage about 7:30 p.m., Severts said. Roughly 1,400 customers lost power, and street lights went dark in the area of Martin Luther King Boulevard and Bonanza Road just before 8 p.m.
Those outages lasted only a few moments, but just after 8 p.m., a malfunctioning wire caused an outage near downtown Las Vegas that left about 40 customers without power for hours, Severts said, because the wire had to be replaced.
Severts said that utility workers are sent when an outage is reported. They drive along the power lines and look for the problem, but Mother Nature is not always cooperative.
“Many times, with this kind of wind, it can be hard to see,” Severts said.
Jim Harrison, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Las Vegas, said gusts as strong as 50 mph prompted the agency to issue a wind advisory that lasted until 11 p.m. Tuesday.
Strong winds brought a host of other troubles. Reduced visibility made driving difficult for some, and crosswinds can be especially dangerous for high-profile vehicles such as trucks. Harrison said gales could cause sudden lane changes for tractor-trailers.
Dust and haze caused by wind contributed to a multi-car pileup on a major freeway that killed a man just across the Northern Nevada border with Utah, officials said.
The storm, packing winds as high as 70 mph, hit Interstate 80 just east of the Utah-Nevada state line, leading to a noon crash that involved at least six trucks and 11 cars, Utah Highway Patrol spokesman Todd Royce said.
The man killed in the collision has not been identified, Royce said. He added that the eastbound freeway was closed until about 7:30 p.m.
Footage broadcast by local media showed several damaged vehicles and the highway littered with debris. More than two dozen people were injured.
People with allergies or environmental sensitivities were encouraged to stay indoors Tuesday night.
The wind was expected to settle down after midnight, Harrison said, but it will still be breezy today, which will be much cooler.
Harrison said a cold front followed the winds down from Northern Nevada, and today was expected to have high temperatures of about 69 degrees — about 15 degrees cooler than Tuesday, Harrison said.
Reuters contributed to this report.