Las Vegas Sun

August 25, 2019

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Woman rescued from wash amid record-breaking rainfall in Las Vegas


Steve Marcus

UNLV students Joshua Clark and Parisa Soleimani share an umbrella during a light rain at UNLV Monday, Oct. 5, 2015.

Updated Monday, Oct. 5, 2015 | 11:40 p.m.

A 70-year-old homeless woman was rescued from a wash in Spring Valley Monday afternoon as rain soaked much of the Las Vegas Valley and surrounding areas, leading to traffic accidents and power outages across the area.

A major power outage reported about 7:20 p.m. near Sahara Avenue and Lindell Road was affecting 1,274 NV Energy customers as of about 11:15 p.m., according to the company's Outage Center website.

The outage was caused by equipment failure, and service was expected to be restored by midnight, the website said.

Meanwhile, lightning caused a power pole fire about 7 p.m. Monday in the 1400 block of Euclid Avenue, near Oakey Boulevard and Eastern Avenue, according to Las Vegas Fire & Rescue.

There was no threat to surrounding properties, the fire department said.

Lightning, hail and heavy rain were reported throughout the day in the Las Vegas Valley and surrounding areas.

Clark County Fire Chief Greg Cassell said firefighters plucked a woman and her cat from the drainage channel near Tropicana Avenue and Jones Boulevard when rising rainwater washed her and her cat and a couch down a storm channel about 1:50 p.m.

Cassell says the woman declined medical treatment and the American Red Cross was helping her find a place to stay.

The chief said firefighters from nearby Station 22 also pooled funds to buy the woman some groceries and food for the cat, named Panther.

Nevada Highway Patrol responded to 76 crashes in Southern Nevada by about 4:30 p.m., at least double the number of incidents that occur when the roadways are dry, Trooper Chelsea Stuenkel said.

A jackknifed semitruck spilled fuel on Interstate 15 near U.S. 95 about 11 a.m., closing three lanes of the interstate for several hours after hitting the center median, Stuenkel said.

A few hours later, a Nevada Highway Patrol trooper suffered minor injuries after a Ford SUV rear-ended his patrol vehicle on the U.S. 95 southbound offramp to Jones Boulevard, she said.

The patrol vehicle was pushed into another vehicle about 2:20 p.m., and the woman driving the SUV was arrested on a DUI count, Stuenkel said.

The 24-hour rainfall total at McCarran International Airport reached 0.62 inch by about 11:15 p.m., beating the old record of 0.31 inch set in 2006, according to the weather service.

Records go back to 1937, weather service meteorologist Nathan Foster said.

Areas in the west valley experienced the most rain, with 2.8 inches reported over a 24-hour period near Town Center Drive and the 215 Beltway, according to the weather service.

There were a series of flood alerts and warnings due to storms.

A flash flood warning issued about 6:40 p.m. for southwestern Clark County, specifically downtown Las Vegas and areas north of Tropicana Avenue, was canceled, National Weather Service meteorologist Clay Morgan said.

A new alert was issued for southwestern parts of the valley, which included warnings of heavy rain in Enterprise, about 8 p.m. through 10 p.m., he said.

A flash flood warning for areas including Searchlight and Cal-Nev-Ari was issued about 3:40 p.m. and expired about 6:45 p.m., according to the weather service. Another warning was issued about 7:40 p.m. for areas south of Searchlight, including Cal-Nev-Ari through 10:30 p.m., the weather service said.

A severe thunderstorm warning for the area about 10 miles east of Searchlight expired about 5 p.m. and had warned of quarter-sized hail.

Hail the size of half-dollars was reported in the area, according to the weather service.

A flash flood warning was issued for areas including Moapa and Overton about 4 p.m. until 7 p.m., Foster said.

A flood advisory issued about 12:40 p.m. warned of minor street flooding in the southeast valley and expired about 2:30 p.m., he said.

The high temperature in the valley reached 70 degrees about 1 a.m. Monday and 65 degrees Monday afternoon, well below the 86 degrees normal for this time of year. But temperatures are expected to rise to the low 90s by Thursday and for the weekend.

Moisture from the Pacific Northwest moved through California and made its way into the valley, contributing to the cold temperatures, Foster said.

Snow fell as low as 9,500 feet on Mount Charleston early Monday morning, Foster said.

There is a 20 percent chance of rain Tuesday.

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