Las Vegas Sun

October 19, 2017

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Flash flood warning issued for canyons near Mount Charleston

Las Vegas’ streak of 125 dry days officially ended Friday


John Katsilometes

Rain falls on the High Roller on Friday, July 4, 2014.

Updated Saturday, July 5, 2014 | 6 p.m.

Click to enlarge photo

From left, the Venetian, Palazzo and Wynn can be seen through the rain from the High Roller on Friday, July 4, 2014.

Thunderstorms poured heavy rain on parts of Mount Charleston on Saturday afternoon, including parts of the Carpenter 1 fire area susceptible to flooding, according to the National Weather Service.

About 1 to 2 inches of rain fell primarily on the southern and western areas of the fire scar, meteorologist Chris Outler said. A flash flood warning was issued at 12:21 p.m. for Lovell and Trout canyons, which are in the path of water drainage from the Carpenter 1 area. The weather service warned of possible flooding and debris flows along Highway 160 toward Pahrump.

Areas recovering from fire damage exacerbate flooding due to the lack of vegetation and natural obstacles to stop the flow of water. The ground also does not absorb as much water after a fire.

By 1:45 p.m., heavy rain was still falling on the burn area and a flood advisory was issued for Rainbow Canyon, north of Mount Charleston.

Outler said the area saw heavy rain but at manageable amounts, even with the added flood risk.

“It’s not terribly uncommon to have something like that once or twice a season in that part of the region,” he said. “It could have been a lot worse.”

Pea-size hail was reported around 1:50 p.m. at Lee Canyon, a mile from the Mount Charleston ski area.

Despite the storms Saturday, Las Vegas has seen significantly less rain in 2014 compared with the average year. About 0.38 inch of rain has fallen this year, compared with the average of 2.1 inches for the same period.

Las Vegas’ streak of 125 dry days was officially broken Friday after a handful of light storms dropped a quarter inch of rain over scattered spots around the valley, the National Weather Service said.

Neighborhoods on the east side, specifically the area of Sahara Avenue and U.S. 95, received more than half an inch, NWS meteorologist Todd Lericos said. Much of the rain fell during the evening when fireworks were being set off.

The long-running dry spell, the 11th-longest of all time in Las Vegas, ended when 0.08 inch of rain fell at McCarran International Airport.

Rain is expected on Sunday but in lower amounts than Friday and Saturday.

The rain is the result of low-level moisture surging northward from Baja, Lericos said. The moisture is warmed by heat from the desert and creates storm conditions.

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