Just before 10pm Monday, the rain came to Las Vegas in force. The storm moved in just after dark and then a spectacular lighting storm danced in the skies above the Las Vegas Strip. The rain was city wide causing some flooding in low lying streets. The National Weather Service issued this advisory for all of Las Vegas at 10pm as the storm struck the city:
1003 pm pdt mon jul 20 2009
The national weather service in las vegas has issued a flood advisory for rapid rises in normally dry washes in northwestern clark county in southern nevada.
At 10 pm PDT national weather service radar estimated heavy rainfall was occurring just north and east of indian springs that could result in flooding in low lying and poor drainage areas.
Motorists traveling along highway 95 between centennial hills and indian springs should be especially alert for water on the road since it is nighttime...the area is rural and dark and it may be difficult to see water.
A flood advisory means river or stream flows are elevated or ponding
Of water in urban or other areas is occurring or is imminent.
The rain storm early for the season, and not tied in with the traditional monsoons that come up from Mexico, are the remnants of a storm system that finally ended up in southern Nevada from a westerly storm from California.
This is the first major storm of 2009 and for southern Nevada will produce strong numbers for the year considering the annual rain fall reaches about 4 inches.
By 10:30pm some rain gauges in North Las Vegas were showing more than an a half and inch of rain. When the rain comes in the desert, it comes fast and heavy and leads to low lying area flooding, flash floods in dry streams and river beds, effecting low lying road crossings. Motorists city wide are urged to use extreme caution and not to cross areas were water is running even just a few inches.
Other issues during this first big storm of the season include trash clogged storm drains which will cause back flooding into streets, especially at intersections. Also, the oils from the roads will make surfaces slick and will lead to a significant increase traffic accidents.
From 9pm to 10pm humidity dramatically increased from 21% to 35%, and with the temperatures still near 90 degrees created an excellent recipe for rains. The rains have been accompanied by a spectacular lightning storm which could lead to more fire in Forest Service and BLM lands.
Earlier Monday, Forest Service crews where fighting several fires, according Judy Suing of the National Forest Service, the highest priority one called the Williams fire just one and a half miles from the community of Trout. As of 3pm Monday a Hotshot crew was dispatched to take control of the fire from the ground as a single engine air tanker and two helicopters attacked in the air.
Judy Suing of the NFS will be keeping Digital Journal up to date as more information and further fire news comes from the evening storm which struck Las Vegas at about 10pm and was anticipated to taper off after 1am Tuesday morning according to the National Weather Services web site at http://www.nws.noaa.gov/
Digital Journal will have a follow up for readers early Tuesday morning with the out come of this first big storm for Las Vegas of 2009.