Business still estimating cost of wind damage |

Business still estimating cost of wind damage

by Maggie O'Neill
Appeal Staff Writer

Although the cost of damages at Tip Top Amusement Co. remain uncertain, the wreckage caused by high winds Saturday evening at the Idaho Street business is not.

“We had nine vehicles that were damaged,” said Tip Top Owner Lisa Minter. “Some of that ranged from broken windshields to beams actually impaled into vehicles.”

The business’ insurance analyst was working Monday to determine the total cost of damage. Glass repair experts were on the way. When Minter first viewed the damage, she said she was surprised at the amount of shattered glass that covered the ground.

“It was overwhelming,” she said. “There were glass and nails everywhere. The nails came from the sheets of plywood that came off the building from (behind us).”

A large beam had also flown through a roll-up door in the back of the business.

“Luckily, no one was around (at the time) or someone could have been hurt,” she said.

All of the nine damaged Tip Top vehicles are route vehicles, the ones employees use to service its machines. Tip Top provides video games, pinball machines and vending machines to area businesses.

“All of our route vehicles are down,” she said. “It’s not like I have a car that I could take, because the cars have no windows.”

Much of the grounds cleanup at Tip Top, including plywood and beam removal, was done on Sunday. A drive through the neighborhood shows pieces of plywood remain in a lot across the street from Tip Top and fences that have been blown over by the wind.

“We made lots of runs to the dump,” Minter said.

At Silver State Fitness, on the same block as Tip Top, pieces of wood flew from the building, and an overhang was damaged.

High winds are to blame. A report of a wind gust at 98 mph came from a radio station located near Tip Top, in South Carson City, where much of the damage appears to have occurred, but the maximum winds tallied at the National Weather Service Saturday evening, beginning at about 7 p.m. and continuing until about 10 p.m., weren’t that high.

Readings included a 50 mph at Western Nevada Community College, a 68 mph reading in Washoe Valley and one of 63 mph near the interchange of Highway 50 and Highway 395 (Spooner junction) are still pretty significant, according to Meteorologist Jim Fischer with the National Weather Service in Reno. He said the reading of 98 mph seemed to be isolated.

“That strong of a wind is uncommon (in valley areas),” he said. “It might occur once every five years. I really don’t know.”

Wind speeds well above 100 mph are common on the Sierra crest, and such speeds were measured Saturday night.

“They don’t usually skip down to the surface,” Fischer said. “Occasionally they do, but it’s very hard to predict when they do.”

While Carson City and Washoe Valley were pummeled with high winds, Reno received little by comparison.

“The fact that we didn’t have those strong winds up here (in Reno where the National Weather Service is located) under the same weather regime is pretty unusual,” he said.

The high winds are identified as mountain wave activity. Fischer said more needs to be learned about them. But sometimes the winds will travel through canyons and pick up speed.

• Contact reporter Maggie O’Neill at or 881-1219.


Sunny skies and warm weather will come to an end later today as a winter storm is expected to blow in the Sierra Nevada through Wednesday, dumping at least a foot of snow above 7,000 feet and 6 inches at lake level.

A rain and snow mix is possible in the Eagle and Carson valleys.

The system will likely arrive in the form of rain, but temperatures will grow colder, turning it to snow by late afternoon, said Brian Brong, forecaster for the Reno-based National Weather Service.

The storm should blow out of the region by Thursday, leaving a warming trend that could continue through the weekend.

Expect today to be mostly cloudy and windy with highs 45-55. Southwest winds 10-15 mph increasing to 20 to 30 mph in the afternoon with gusts up to 50 mph in the afternoon. Tonight brings a chance of rain after midnight and lows 31-41. Southwest winds 20 to 30 mph with gusts up to 50 mph.

Wednesday is expected to be brisk with rain and snow likely. Snow level will start at 6,500 feet lowering to 5,000 feet. Snow accumulation up to 2 inches expected in the valleys. Highs around 51. West winds 10 to 20 mph with gusts up to 35 mph. Wednesday night will be partly cloudy with a slight chance of snow in the evening. Lows 21-31 and wind from the west 10-15 mph.

– Nevada Appeal News Service reports