In Las Vegas, there is a chance to hit the jackpot. There is also the possibility that a vortex of wind will rise around the pool, blow away furniture and force hotel guests to seek shelter.
The latest happened on Friday at the Luxor Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. Video posted on TikTok showed the shape of a wind vortex at the foot of the pyramid, where several people seemed to be hit by flying chairs and other objects.
A whirlwind of wind, a type sometimes called a “dust devil” or whirlpool, swirled for a few seconds just a few feet from the pool, which the guests watched in horror. Other guests were not so lucky. The video shows some of the guests lying on the ground until the wind subsides.
Melissa White from Southern California was lounging on a couch when she noticed two large umbrellas fly off and land in the pool.
“Then it just kept going,” White said on Monday. “Bags, umbrellas, sun loungers just flew into the air. Everyone was in a panic.”
The whirlwind lasted only a few seconds, but it seemed to White longer, who called this event a tornado on social media and was quickly corrected by Nevada residents who tried to downplay what she saw.
“A lot of people tell me that Nevada doesn’t get tornadoes. It was like a tornado to me,” White said. “Then the next day my daughter sent me a video and I was like, ‘See, that’s what I was talking about.
In a video posted by Hollyvagabond, the whirlwind lasted several seconds, leaving pool furniture tangled on the ground and smaller debris drifting through the air.
“It was just chaos. It was just calm and surreal back then,” said White, who was about 15 yards from where the wind first picked up. “We all just stood there after.”
White said several people were injured and at least one guest was carried away on a stretcher.
MGM Resorts, Luxor’s parent company, did not immediately respond to a request for comment on whether any people were injured.
Wind gusts at Las Vegas International Airport on Friday were between 20 and 30 mph, according to the National Weather Service.
“Nothing particularly remarkable,” said Matt Woods, meteorologist for the Las Vegas Weather Service. “We have these summer winds from time to time. They are usually strongest in spring or winter.”
The winds that blew in Luxor on Friday may not have been incredibly strong, but they could have blown through the Strip’s buildings.
“If you ever stood behind the edge of a wall and the air wrapped around it, it created a little whirlwind,” Woods said. “Sometimes these rotational movements can become stronger near buildings than if you were in an open field.”
The vortex in Luxor originated where several buildings stand next to the pools and likely helped direct the winds, Woods said.
Over five years ago strong wind overturned four large trucks uprooted trees and destroyed at least one casino tent in Las Vegas. Winds peaked at 84 mph at Desert Inn Road and Highway 215 near Summerlin, a community about 20 minutes west of the Strip, according to the National Weather Service.