Published Friday, March 8, 2013 | 8:41 a.m.
Updated Friday, March 8, 2013 | 2:40 p.m.
Mountain lovers should grab their skis and snowboards, and those who prefer the valley should not fret; snow is falling on Mt. Charleston and the rain will not wash out the whole weekend.
A damp start to the weekend should give way to clear skies and consistently warming temperatures starting Sunday, according to the National Weather Service.
Precipitation started before dawn in the valley and continued into the early afternoon, but it is only expected to add up to approximately a quarter of an inch, National Weather Service meteorologist Reid Wolcott said.
Early Friday afternoon, there were reports of rain throughout the Las Vegas Valley, sleet south of U.S. 93 in Henderson and hail in Summerlin. On its Facebook page, the National Weather Service said that as of about noon Friday, McCarran International Airport had measured 0.03 inch of precipitation, with a gauge near West Gowan Road and North Tenaya Way measuring 0.28 inch of rain, the highest total in the valley.
Rain forced officials to cancel all NASCAR Sprint Cup Series activity Friday, including qualifying for Sunday’s Kobalt Tools 400, at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
The track got steady rain all morning Friday and again in the early afternoon after a brief break, forcing NASCAR to scrap practice and qualifying for the first time in Las Vegas.
Sunday's field will be set by points and the NASCAR rule book, giving the pole to last season's Sprint Cup series champion, Brad Keselowski. Keselowski says he's excited because it's the first time he's ever ended up with good track position after a rainout. Mike Bliss will miss the race because of the cancellation of qualifying.
Weather also delayed arrivals and departures at McCarran Airport.
Wind held up planes at gates and on runways for up to a half hour this morning, an airport spokeswoman said. Airborne flights experienced delays of less than 15 minutes, while outgoing flights to New York, Boston and New Jersey were delayed up to three hours because of ice and snow on the East Coast.
McCarran also had to clear all personnel from the tarmac for 8 minutes early this afternoon because lightning was reported close to the airport.
The advisories have since been lifted.
Snow began falling in the mountains early Friday and between 3 to 8 inches is expected, possibly more at Las Vegas Ski and Snowboard Resort at the top of Mt. Charleston.
“It’s snowing pretty good up there,” Wolcott said.
Temperatures will hover in the upper 40s and low 50s for the rest of Friday, and some precipitation is expected early Saturday, “nothing past the morning commute,” Wolcott said.
Saturday temperatures are expected to peak in low 60s, and the warming trend will continue with highs in the low 80s expected by Thursday.
“(After Saturday) it’s looking pretty nice for the next five days at least,” Wolcott said.