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High wind gusts cause havoc in region

Winds ripped through the region Monday giving residents and visitors more than just a bad hair day.

The wild weather was responsible for causing damages to a Pahrump home, causing havoc for campers at Death Valley and knocking out Internet access to the town.

The peak wind gust in town was 35 mph according to the National Weather Service, although there is a possibility higher gusts did occur, but were outside of the weather station.

This was made evident when wind gusts caused a structural collapse to a home along the 2600 block of West Wilson Road.

Though no injuries were reported, crews from Pahrump Valley Fire and Rescue Services responded to the scene, where officials from the Nye County Building and Safety Department were also summoned.

Fire Chief Scott Lewis said residents can take steps to prepare for such conditions and also noted the fire department is strictly enforcing regulations to the burn ordinances.

“There will be absolutely no authorized controlled burns and we will be strictly enforcing it to make sure there’s no injuries or extensions to someone else’s property,” he said.

Lewis also issued a warning to residents who are suffering from respiratory issues.

“Try to keep your windows closed to minimize exposure,” he said. “We are experiencing an exorbitant amount of response requirements for people who are having difficulties breathing, especially those with asthma and folks who already have a tendency to get impacted by weather such as this.”

As Lewis and his crews prepare for an increase in weather-related responses, he said residents can take simple steps to avoid problems at their homes.

“We are preparing for increases in responses and we ask that residents use all due caution,” he said. “If somebody does see something out of the ordinary, they should report it. For people who have loose materials in and around their property, they want to make sure that it’s tied down and secured, such as things like trampolines, dog houses and even fencing. Anything along those lines could become uprooted.”

In Death Valley National Park a camper trailer was blown 1500 feet into the air when a dust devil tore through the Texas Springs Campground, causing property damage and one injury.

Wind flipped a pop-up camp trailer, which was unoccupied at the time, and broke several vehicle windows. Multiple tents were either destroyed or blown away by the wind and a volunteer campground host at nearby Sunset Campground reported seeing the tent traveling eastbound that was about 1,500 feet in the air.

The single injury during the wind event was sustained by a man whose head was cut by a flapping portion of his tent as it was being whisked away in the wind. National Park Service rangers stabilized his injuries and transported him to an area hospital for treatment.

Valley Electric Association, Inc. said that there were only three short-term power outages in town, only affecting a handful of people. This was assuring for the cooperative, as the transmission system that VEA has in place was shown to be reliable, even during an intense weather event.

VEA also said that because of backing up the Nye County Sheriff’s Office two weeks ago to their fiber-optic communications system, giving them triple redundancy, that when the Internet service in Pahrump crashed for less than an hour Monday afternoon, the sheriff’s office was unaffected by the outage and business went on as usual.

Over the hump in Las Vegas saw significantly higher winds, in excess of 60 mph Monday, due to a mountain wave that was caught off of Spring Mountain, according to National Weather Service meteorologist Caleb Steele. Despite that, the highest wind gust in Nye County was recorded at Yucca Mountain, registering at 91 mph.

Contact reporter Mick Akers at makers@pvtimes.com. Follow @mickakers on Twitter. Contact reporter Selwyn Harris at sharris@pvtimes.com. On Twitter: @pvtimes

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