UPDaTE: 2:20 a.m. – Following the dust storm and flash flood warning in parts of Southern Nevada, all operations in McCarran Airport, Las Vegas, were suspended with all inbound flights being diverted to other airports.
There were also reports of Clark County Fire Department working a major second alarm fire at or near the Wyndham Desert Blue resort, with multiple smoke inhalation victims. It is unclear whether the fire was a direct result of the severe weather in the area.
Heavy lightning activity was observed in different parts of Las Vegas on Saturday night.
Dust storm and flash flood warnings were issued by the National Weather Service in Las Vegas for Clark County in southern Nevada on Saturday. In addition, a flash flood warning was also issued for Northwestern Mohave County in northwestern Arizona.
While the dust storm warning was supposed to expire at 12:15 a.m. EDT Sunday, the flash flood warning will expire at 3 a.m. EDT Sunday.
“Doppler radar and automated rain gauges indicated thunderstorms producing heavy rain across the warned area. Up to one inch of rain has already fallen. Flash flooding is expected to begin shortly,” the warning said.
An additional one to two inches of rain was expected in areas such as Las Vegas, Henderson, North Las Vegas, Boulder City, Las Vegas Bay, Nellis AFB, East Las Vegas, Green Valley, Paradise, Railroad Pass, and Willow Beach.
“A wall of dust was along a line extending from Henderson to near Centennial Hills, moving southwest at 45 mph. HAZARD…Less than a quarter mile visibility with damaging wind in excess of 60 mph,” read the second warning.
Motorists were warned that visibility on roads was expected to be reduced to zero, which would make for dangerous driving during the dust storm. Hence, as a precautionary measure, drivers were told to pull to the side of the road, if they happen to be caught up in the storm.
Minutes after the warning was issued, people started posting pictures and videos of the impending dust storm on social media.
NV Energy, one of the major energy suppliers in northern and southern Nevada, reported more than 14,000 customers without power in the Las Vegas Valley, post-warning.
“Tonight’s high winds have caused multiple outages throughout southern Nevada. We are working to restore power as quickly and safely as possible. We apologize for the inconvenience. If see a downed power line, please stay away and call 911,” the company tweeted.
Meanwhile, Las Vegas FireRescue tweeted: “Reports now coming in of utility poles either leaning dangerously or now down at various locations in the city. Stay away from downed poles. @NVEnergy notified.”
Also, there were reports of cars being flipped over in a storage lot and planes toppling over at Henderson Airport, Las Vegas Valley, due to the dust storms. As a result, more than 30 flights inbound for Las Vegas were reportedly diverted to various Southern California airports, as the weather fast deteriorated across Southern Nevada.