Las Vegas: The Surprisingly Windy City

April and May may be the windiest months in Las Vegas. Beach towels and cushions know the winds well.
Photo by Diane Taylor

Folks who don’t live in Las Vegas figure that while dry heat may be tolerable, high summer temperatures would be unbearable.

Yes, high temperatures might be torture for folks forced to take long July walks in 110-degree temperatures. But most of us live in air-conditioned homes and drive air-conditioned cars. We might also have access to pools and cool early mornings to do our errands.

What about the Las Vegas weather that does bother us? It’s the wind which may typically be in the average category (9 mph) but on occasion interrupts our otherwise tranquil lives.

I spent the majority of my working career in Chicago which is known as the “windy city.” Indeed, the cold wind off Lake Michigan can be bone chilling, OR, we’re told, the term also refers to “bloviating” politicians of years gone by. (Seems to me the the whole country is pretty windy these days using the latter definition.)

But I contend Las Vegas also deserves the name “windy city”–with Spring wind gusts ranging from 20 mph to as high as 40 and 50 MPH.

Lightweight chairs and cushions go swimming repeatedly as a result of the wind.
Photo by Diane Taylor

Everyone who lives here for an extended period has a wind story. I’m not talking about spending hours coifing fine hair just as one wants only to go outside even briefly and end up looking like late comedian Marty Allen. Or I’m not talking about “thinking” of taking a long walk only to be discouraged by howling wind and errant roof tiles circulating in the breeze. I’m not talking about tree branches suddenly finding the ground and helping landscapers send their kids to college. I’m not talking about removing trees that encounter winds and weep “stuff” that causes pool-cleaning husbands to threaten divorce. I AM talking about the stories below:

“I was on a walk when the wind came up and literally lifted me off the ground.” (This story was from a thin friend.) She continues, “I ran to a nearby open garage and hid there until the wind died down.”

I have a fully furnished patio: a dining set, lounge chairs side tables, etc. (This is me talking now.) “Most of my lounge furniture is white plastic. I first bought it in Chicago after my more expensive patio set was actually stolen from my back yard (which faced a busy street; i.e. an easy get-away). The less costly chairs and table were not tempting, and they survived several years. I even brought them to Las Vegas. To make the chairs tolerable in my new retirement location, I bought nice blue cushions for each chair. The cushions matched the tiles in the pool. I was set!

This tree looks better upright. Its nap is due to Las Vegas wind.
Photo by Diane Taylor

Then came the winds. I can’t tell you the number of times I have come home to find chairs and cushions blown into my pool and spa. Most times I can rescue swimming furniture myself, but occasionally I need assistance. Some years, I fear, my chairs have spent more time in the pool than I have.

And finally (I’m still talking): our community has a number of pine trees. The winds come and the streets are smothered with pine tree debris and pine cones. About two weeks ago, I went to get my mail and was looking it over as I walked back to the house. The wind had come the day before and an errant pine cone was right in my path. I didn’t see it. I stepped on it. It rolled and I didn’t. I fell hard on my keister. I sat a while to recover my senses and fortunately, my keister survived AND I was able to get up off the ground. I am currently losing the HUGE bruise on the side of my keister, and now and then an ache reminds me that indeed I did go ker-plop. The day after I fell I recovered that tough little pine cone and now I carry it around as a bad luck, good luck symbol.

No, I do not miss snow and ice, but I could use just a bit less wind…..


9 responses on “Las Vegas: The Surprisingly Windy City

  1. Ouch! Sorry to hear about your fall! Hope all heals well. As for Las Vegas wind, it does sweep across the valley on occasion…hang on to your sunhats! I found the passes going East from the valley towards the hills really are vicious! I can feel it in the airplane fighting it’s way to the airport to land. Still, there’s no place like….Vegas!

  2. I’m an elder and use a cane to navigate. Last March, during a particularly windy day, I was literally blown off my feet,cane and myself akinder. The result? A split lip, a broken nose, (not the first time), and my front teeth then dubbed me”Snagglepuss”! Off to the ER! Racoons would think I was one of them! I lived in Chi-town (Chicago) for 11 years. Vegas winds give Chicago a run for the money!

  3. 5th para: guests vs. gusts? Maybe the LV winds do blow guests too, your thin friend a case in point. No fear of high winds blowing me around, though! Haha! I call those nasty cones “grenades” and after the winds come through, they’re everywhere! Hope your recovery continues to go well.

  4. I guess the wind storms is a small price to pay for the otherwise beautiful weather. But, oye, I didn’t know pine cones were so dangerous!

  5. Does anyone know if we have stats that support a higher than normal wind forecast? I would swear that the last year has been worse than any other of my 50 years in LV!!

  6. @Belinda Little Shauer, the frequency and pace of the winds seem about normal to me. Granted, I have only been here 22 years — but it seems like we often get winds like this.

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