Winds Disrupt 600+ Flights in Las Vegas Post-Grand Prix
Passengers at Harry Reid International Airport in Las Vegas faced severe delays this past Sunday as more than 600 outbound flights were hampered by powerful winds sweeping through the area. The gusts, which reached upwards of 50 mph and spiked even higher at times, threw the day’s air travel schedule into disarray.
FlightAware, a notable flight tracking service, reported that a cumulative number of 716 flights were gripped by delays by the evening, and a handful of these—eight to be exact—ended on the list of cancellations, as Las Vegas TV station KTNV brought to light.
Those eager to depart faced an average holdup of 165 minutes as the day waned into late afternoon. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) proposed this number as the average waiting time for travelers at the mercy of the fierce wind conditions.
Clark County winds were recorded racing between 35 and 45 mph. More intense gusts exceeded 50 mph, with a significant thrust peaking at 62 mph at the North Las Vegas Airport, as detailed by the National Weather Service (NWS).
The deluge of delays coincided with the departure of thousands of visitors who had flocked to the city for the adrenaline-infused Formula One Las Vegas Grand Prix. The weekend’s event drew in an estimated crowd of 100,000, with the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) noting that nearly 98,000 were slotted to leave the city via Harry Reid International following the races.
As travelers waited, airport spokesman Joe Rajchel attributed the prolonged departure times not only to the wind but also to the increased traffic of private and commercial aircraft that had gathered for the sporting spectacle.
Dust storms, another byproduct of the whipping winds, led to the temporary closure of a key southbound stretch on Interstate 15. With visibility dropping at times to virtually none, advisories were put into effect urging motorists to avoid travel through the impacted areas, which included parts of San Bernardino County and Clark County surrounding the interstate.
In an unrelated yet coincidental event, the airport connector experienced its own share of disruptions following a three-vehicle collision on Saturday. The ensuing halt in traffic flow saw a slow recovery, resuming partially into Saturday night, and underscored the need for added travel time to the airport for both departures and arrivals.
Amid reports of minor injuries, the driver deemed responsible for the accident absconded from the scene, leaving authorities to manage the aftermath and travelers to navigate the congestion.
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