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Outages trend back up Sunday morning after 34K left without power Saturday

Updated March 3, 2024 - 10:48 am

A stormy Saturday delivered winds to 76 mph, felled trees, scattered debris, shredded parts of a downtown hotel roof and cut power to tens of thousands of NV Energy customers as well as to visiting first lady Jill Biden.

It was all a part of a massive winter blizzard that moved across California and Nevada starting Thursday on the Pacific Ocean coast. Before it clears, up to 10-12 feet of snow is expected in the Sierra Nevada.

As of 10:40 a.m. Sunday, 2776 users were without power across Nevada, down from 34,000 Saturday morning. The number of people impacted by outages in Nevada was under 1,000 around 7 a.m. Sunday, but rose again by mid-morning. Most of the outages were in Southern Nevada with over 2,600 impacted.

Outages on the west side of Las Vegas at 7:40 a.m. affecting about 4,500 customers started the day on Saturday. A few hours later, a large outage in the Anthem area of Henderson knocked out some 7,900 customers.

“Most of those customers have been restored,” NV Energy spokeswoman Meghin Delaney said at 4:30 p.m Saturday. “We have 200 line people working to restore power as fast as possible and another 100 support people in offices. Our meteorologist says the peak should be soon and winds will die down by 10 p.m.”

A high wind warning runs until 10 a.m. Sunday.

Top gust of 71 mph

Top wind gusts during the day Saturday were 71 mph at North Las Vegas Airport, 69 mph at Harry Reid International Airport, 63 mph at Boulder City Municipal Airport and 55 mph at Henderson Executive Airport. Outside of the valley, Angel Peak logged a wind of 88 mph. The gust at North Las Vegas was the strongest wind in the valley since 1985.

“It rained for about two hours, but most of it was sprinkles,” said National Weather Service meteorologist Chris Outler. “Most of the valley should see the strongest winds die down about 8 p.m., but the west side such as Red Rock, Summerlin and Mountains Edge will have strong winds until around midnight.”

Winds gusts declined Saturday night, but were still in the 40s at 10 p.m. in Henderson, Boulder City and Summerlin. However, a gust at Blue Diamond reached 76 mph late Saturday.

Wind velocities were expected to drop into the 30s before rising again close to sunrise and then declining later Sunday.

About a half-inch of rain fell near Mount Charleston since midnight while .028 of an inch fell at the Red Rock Canyon Visitor’s Center.

The March record for a wind gust is 82 mph on March 21, 1984. The all-time strongest wind in the valley is 90 mph on Aug. 8, 1989, from a thunderstorm.

Trees, signs, hotel roofs affected

“Due to extreme wind conditions, various areas around the valley have been affected,” Metropolitan Police Department Lt. Aaron Lee said in a text. “These disruptions have included debris in roadways, fallen trees and a power outage in the southeast valley.”

Lee added that traffic lights were not functioning properly at U.S. 95 and Rainbow Boulevard and Torrey Pines/Desert Inn.

Main Street downtown was closed due to a portion of the California Hotel roof being torn loose. Main Street was reopened around 5 p.m.

Power went out about an hour before a campaign speech by Jill Biden at SEIU Local 1107, so alternative lighting devices were used.

A warning for the Spring Mountains indicated gusts to 85 mph and white-out conditions are possible. Up to 12 inches of snow is forecast for the mountains. Video cameras at Lee Canyon showed sparse winter sports activity during much of the day.

65 flights canceled

At the airport, 519 flights had been delayed as of 9:15 p.m. Saturday with 65 cancellations, according to FlightAware.com.

Flights were delayed about two hours earlier in the day.

Mall lost power

Fashion Show Mall on the Strip was without power around 3 p.m. Half of the stores were closed and escalators were off, according to a Review-Journal staffer. The underground parking garage was nearly devoid of light.

The Sunday forecast calls for patchy blowing dust before 10 a.m. It should be sunny, with a high near 63. Southwest winds will be 20 to 30 mph, with gusts to 45 mph.

Sunday night will be mostly clear, with a low around 42. Expect west-southwest winds of 5 to 14 mph, with gusts to 21 mph.

A second storm is expected to arrive sometime Wednesday.

A powerful blizzard raged overnight into Saturday in the Sierra Nevada as the biggest storm of the season shut down a long stretch of Interstate-80 in California and gusty winds and heavy rain hit lower elevations, leaving tens of thousands of customers without power.

Up to 10 feet (3 meters) of snow is expected in some areas. The National Weather Service said early Saturday that widespread blowing snow was creating “extremely dangerous to impossible travel conditions.” The combination of snow and high winds was most intense in the Sierra Nevada, with more than 3 inches (7 centimeters) of snow falling per hour and wind gusts over 100 mph (161 kph).

Contact Marvin Clemons at mclemons@reviewjournal.com. Review-Journal digital content producer Madelon Hynes contributed to this report as did The Associated Press.

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