High winds cause dangerous dust storms in California, flight delays in Las Vegas

High winds resulted in a ground stop at Las Vegas' Harry Reid International Airport on Wednesday. At least 1 flight was diverted to Los Angeles.

High winds associated with a cold front that is part of the second of a pair of systems moving through the country this week are kicking up dust in the West and creating dangerous conditions for many on the roads and in the skies.

Dangerous dust storms in California, New Mexico

In Madera County in central California, a large dust storm on Tuesday caused multiple car accidents. Because of these conditions, the California Highway Patrol closed the off-ramp from Highway 99 to westbound Highway 152.

Dust storms also created low visibility in New Mexico. In a video shot near the town of Artesia, visibility was down to less than a quarter-mile on U.S. Highway 285.

Dust mixes with rain and snow in Las Vegas

Dust issues even spread into the Las Vegas area amid gusty winds. 

The Clark County Department of Environment & Sustainability issued an air quality advisory for blowing dust. Wind gusts peaked at 64 mph in Las Vegas, knocking out power to more than 3,300 customers in Southern Nevada, as rain even mixed with wintry precipitation in spots. 


A rain and snow mix reported at Las Vegas’ Harry Reid International Airport (LAS) on Wednesday afternoon was the first time snow had been recorded there on Valentine’s Day.

A Wind Advisory remains in effect for Las Vegas and southern Nevada until 10 a.m. Wednesday. 

Due to the high winds, the Federal Aviation Administration issued a ground stop for LAS. At least one flight was diverted from LAS to Los Angeles.