Monday, Dec. 15, 2008 | 2:16 p.m.
Winter weather stormed through Blue Diamond this morning, bringing a white blanket of powder to the roads and hills, affecting drivers, residents and local businesses.
According to the National Weather Service, Blue Diamond, which is in the Spring Mountains west of Las Vegas, is expected in accumulated up to 3 inches of snow by this afternoon, with snow showers possibly continuing through the night.
Trooper Ray Hubbs, who was patrolling Blue Diamond for the day, said Nevada Highway Patrol has already seen several accidents due to the wet and slushy conditions on the roads.
“I’ve already seen eight or 10 accidents today,” Hubbs said at 11 a.m. “Most of them have either been sliding off the road into a ditch or into a guard rail.”
As the altitude increases, the conditions worsen Hubbs said.
“When you get up to about mile marker 17 up the mountain, it starts getting slippery and it’s slippery all the way to Trop Canyon Plaza,” Hubbs said.
His advice for drivers, “Slow down because I’m writing up everyone who is going off the road.”
Salty Vandercreek of Blue Diamond stopped in at the Blue Diamond Travel Center before delivering hay to a local park.
“The drive will be fine as long as everyone else stays off the road,” Vandercreek said.
Vandercreek has lived in Blue Diamond for the past five years and said he’s seen snow every year since he’s been a resident.
“I’m from Colorado so the snow doesn’t bother me,” Vandercreek said.
Just off Blue Diamond Road (Nevada State Route 159) a few miles before Red Rock Canyon, Joe Davidson’s art garden and cactus nursery at his shop, Cactus’s Joes was covered with snow. Fortunately, Davidson said his 15,000-plus cacti will survive the storm.
“Most of our yuccas and cacti are cold hearted because we’ve been choking them for the cold weather. They’ve dealt with 120-degree heat and the cold at zero degrees,” Davidson said.
Davidson said he’s seen snow every other year since he moved to Blue Diamond in 1984. Last year the area saw some snow flurries, but no accumulation, Davidson said.
Gretchen Matel, who works at Cactus Joe’s, said the drive across the Valley didn’t take her any longer than normal.
“I came from Henderson and there was a little bit of sleet but it wasn’t bad,” Matel said.
Matel remembers when Henderson saw almost 6 inches a few years ago.
Though the winter weather may have brought a slow morning for Cactus Joe’s, Davidson said the snow might turn out to be a plus.
“Not too many people are coming out right now but soon as the sun comes out and it stops snowing, there will be hundreds of people out at Red Rock to see the snow and then they’ll come in a see us,” Davidson said.