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Weatherwise, Las Vegas is known for its extreme summer heat. Less talked about, however, is the fact that Las Vegas can also be a very windy place. But why is Las Vegas so windy?
Las Vegas is so windy because of its proximity to the Spring Mountains and the clouds that bring high wind speeds to the area east of the mountains. The air is also dry in Las Vegas, which means lighter clouds, higher winds, and lower temperatures. There are also windy seasons in Las Vegas.
In this article, I’ll explain the 3 key reasons Las Vegas is so windy. I’ll also discuss the windiest times of the year and the average wind speed by month, which should help you plan your Las Vegas trip. Finally, I’ll provide information on just how dangerous the winds in Las Vegas can be and why it’s important to take them seriously.
3 Reasons Las Vegas Is So Windy
If you’ve ever been to or lived in Las Vegas, you’ve likely noticed the wind at some point. It gets very windy in Las Vegas, and most people will confirm this, as it’s hard to avoid the high winds here.
However, despite many people knowing that Las Vegas is very windy, they may not know the reasons behind it.
In the sections below, I’ll explain the 3 primary reasons Las Vegas can get so windy:
1. Proximity to the Spring Mountains Causes Wind
The main reason Las Vegas is so windy is that it sits in a valley surrounded by mountains (bowl-shaped), and air rapidly flows down the mountainsides and through the Vegas Valley. The mountain range having the greatest effect on Las Vegas wind conditions is called the Spring Mountains. This mountain range is located just west of Las Vegas in southern Nevada, and they impact the wind in Las Vegas.
The city’s wind and climate process start with the air coming off the Pacific Ocean and onto the land over California. The air and wind travel eastward toward the Spring Mountains, where the clouds are eventually pushed to the mountains. Once they reach the mountains, they move upwards and collect condensation from the cool water vapor.
Next, rain or snow falls on the mountains, leaving mostly dry clouds moving east over the mountains toward Las Vegas. The clouds become warmer as they move back down toward the ground after they’ve passed over the mountains.
The dry, warm clouds are quite light, with little or no precipitation left in them. Their lightweight properties cause them to move fast when they come off the mountains. They continue moving fast, and since the Great Basin to the east of the mountains is dry, the clouds don’t pick up any new moisture or precipitation.
By the time the clouds reach Las Vegas, they’re still fast-moving and dry, which results in high winds. This means that Las Vegas experiences a lot of high winds because of where it is relative to the Spring Mountains and Great Basin and the nature of the clouds in this geographic area.
We all know that clouds and weather on the west coast generally move from west to east, as is evidenced on any weather radar. However, if it moved from east to west instead, Las Vegas wouldn’t be so windy since the clouds would pass over mountains that are smaller and further away from Vegas.
2. Dry Air and Heat Combine to Cause Wind
Another reason Las Vegas is so windy is due to the dry air that travels from the Spring Mountains.
If you live in a warm climate, you’re probably familiar with either dry or humid heat. Las Vegas has dry heat, which is part of what causes the wind.
Instead of humidity, which causes the air to feel stagnant, the dry heat in Las Vegas has air that moves a lot in the form of wind.
Humidity is not common in the mountains, and when the air moves off the mountains towards Las Vegas, it doesn’t become more humid. Las Vegas, therefore, has dry air, even drier than that in the nearby mountains.
You’ll also notice that the temperature drops when it gets windy. When the air is dry, there’s no moisture to keep heat in the clouds, and the dry air causes the temperature to change. Then, when the wind starts, the temperature drops.
Here I’m not just talking about the fact that it’s windy and, therefore, feels cooler. When Las Vegas has a big wind move through, it often cools off the city substantially over a period of several days after the wind has passed until it starts to warm up again.
Furthermore, with climate change affecting the temperatures worldwide, winters in Las Vegas will likely be warmer, spring will start sooner, and summers will be even hotter.
With earlier spring temperatures in Las Vegas, there will likely be more windy months in the city since spring is the windiest time there.
If you plan to visit Las Vegas during the summer months, I strongly recommend coming prepared. You can check out my traveler’s guide on surviving the Las Vegas summer for some helpful tips and tricks. [How to Deal With the Heat in Las Vegas (Traveler’s Guide)] coming soon.
3. Seasonal Winds in Las Vegas, Nevada
Finally, the winds in Las Vegas are higher in some seasons than others. Spring is the windiest time in Las Vegas, specifically between March and May. This means that if you visit Las Vegas in the spring or live or visit the city only during certain times of the year, you may not know that the wind is either better or worse during other times.
Between March and May 2022, the average maximum wind speed was 31 mph (50 kph). A wind speed of 31 mph (50 kph) is very high, and this was an increase from previous years. As you can imagine, being outside at 31 mph (50 kph) or higher winds is not fun, and these winds in the spring can deter people from visiting or going outside in Las Vegas.
These months also have the highest average wind speeds (the month’s average.) I’ll discuss the average wind speeds later in the article, but the highest average wind speed is in April at 9.1 mph (14.6 kph).
The average maximum and high wind speeds are lower during other times of the year. So one of the reasons Las Vegas can be so windy is the time of year you’re visiting.
You’ll also experience high winds in Las Vegas during the monsoon season. During this time, the winds can get as high as 70 mph (113 kph), which is another seasonal time for high winds.
You can check out my article detailing the Las Vegas seasons for a more detailed overview. [This is What Every Season is Like in Las Vegas] article coming soon.
Windiest Season of the Year in Las Vegas (Average Wind Speed)
Now that you know why Las Vegas is so windy, let’s look at what times of year are the windiest and what times of the year you might consider avoiding a visit if windy conditions will negatively affect your plans.
Las Vegas can be windy at any time of the year, so you shouldn’t expect to visit and experience no wind, but there is a big difference between windy versus breezy. If you live here, you should be prepared to deal with windy or breezy conditions off and on throughout the year.
Here is the average wind speed by month in Las Vegas:
- January: 7.6 mph (12.2 kph)
- February: 7.8 mph (12.6 kph)
- March: 8.3 mph (13.4 kph)
- April: 9.1 mph (14.6 kph)
- May: 9.0 mph (14.5 kph)
- June: 8.8 mph (14.2 kph)
- July: 7.9 mph (12.7 kph)
- August: 7.2 mph (11.59 kph)
- September: 7.1 mph (11.4 kph)
- October: 7.1 mph (11.4 kph)
- November: 7.3 mph (11.7 kph)
- December: 7.6 mph (12.2 kph)
As you can see by the average wind speeds, the windiest time of year is in spring and early summer. You’ll experience the highest wind speeds between March and June, but there are relatively high average wind speeds throughout the year.
You should remember that these numbers are averages, so while 7 or 9-mph winds don’t seem too bad, there are times when the wind will be significantly worse than this, and there are other times when there will be little to no wind.
The wind varies based on the weather, so it can be difficult to predict when the high winds are coming and when there will be little wind that you have to deal with. It can change by the day and even the hour, so keep an eye on weather apps or sites, so you know when winds are high, and you can prepare.
How To Avoid the Wind When Visiting Las Vegas
If you don’t want to deal with the wind when visiting Las Vegas, you’re better off visiting in September or October. The lowest average wind speeds are in the fall, so the chances of you experiencing a very windy day at this time is less likely. Even the windiest days in the fall are mild compared to the windiest days in the spring.
However, as discussed above, climate change could affect the winds in the fall. If the temperatures heat up and weather conditions are similar to those in the spring, September and October could become windier.
Also, if spring and summer become longer, the least windy months might get pushed back later in the year. In this case, November and December could be the least windy months in Las Vegas.
Instead of relying on the least windy times of year to plan a visit to Las Vegas, consider visiting the city when it’s convenient for you and planning for the wind accordingly.
However, for now, September and October are one of the best times of year to visit Las Vegas.
Tips for Managing the Wind in Las Vegas
There are various things you can do to prepare for and stay safe from the high winds in Las Vegas, especially if you’re visiting in the spring when the winds are the worst (gusts of up to 25-40mph).
Below are some helpful tips:
- Stay near a shelter: Staying in or near a sheltered place allows you to have somewhere to go if the wind speeds suddenly pick up or you feel unsafe outside. If you’re on the Strip, you can always head inside a bar or casino if you need to escape the wind.
- Dress accordingly: Make sure you dress appropriately. Windbreakers and other thick clothing will help you stay warm in the wind. Layers are good, too, since Las Vegas is hot, and you might need to put clothes on and remove them throughout the day, depending on the temperature and wind.
- Watch the weather: When you’re out in Las Vegas, keep an eye on your weather report app so you know if the wind speeds will be changing throughout the day. You can even set up alerts on many weather forecast apps, so you know if and when strong winds are coming.
You may follow these tips to prepare for the wind, but, in the end, do not experience any high winds when you visit Las Vegas. The best-case scenario is to be prepared for the winds but not have to deal with them.
Dangers of the Wind in Las Vegas
Now that I’ve discussed what the windiest times of the year are in Vegas and how to prepare yourself, let’s discuss the dangers of a windstorm in Las Vegas.
High winds in Las Vegas can be so severe that they destroy property and sends objects flying.
The wind can get strong enough to make palm trees lose large fronds and for outdoor furniture to fly. People have even found their pool chairs in their pools from the wind.
Sometimes, people have even been lifted off the ground by the wind in Las Vegas, so it’s important to know where the nearest shelter is if you’re outside. You don’t want to get blown away when you are out and about.
When winds are this high, you need to be cautious around objects that aren’t tied down or otherwise connected to the ground because they could move at any point and cause injuries if anyone is in the way.
Las Vegas can get very windy, and you will notice it if you spend enough time here, especially in the spring. There is not much you can do to avoid the wind here since it is mainly geographically, but you can prepare for the wind by dressing appropriately, keeping an eye on the weather, and staying near a shelter in case the wind escalates quickly.
Just be sure not to underestimate it, as the wind can become very dangerous for short periods of time.