The intense thunderstorms that hit Las Vegas earlier this week were part of a broad pattern expected to continue through the weekend, a National Weather Service official reported Friday. The water from the storms cascaded from the ceiling of a large sports betting area and into the carpet of a casino.
Meteorologist John Adair of the Las Vegas weather service office said that the region is in the middle of the most active part of the monsoon season, which is typically a fairly active period. There are plenty of chances for more thunderstorms to develop.
“We’re getting right into the heart of the most active part,” said Adair. “This is turning out to be a pretty active monsoon season, compared with the last five years or so. There’s plenty of more opportunities for thunderstorms to develop.”
The annual monsoon season has brought a parade of storms to the U.S. Southwest over the past couple of weeks, which have led to flooding in some areas.
People who visited the Las Vegas casinos took videos of the water pouring from the roofs of the buildings. Some footage also showed patrons playing slot machines while the water covered the floor. In one video, a man was still gambling after the water had covered the floor.
In a statement, Derek Stevens, the owner of the Circa casino, said that the storm that hit Las Vegas on Monday night was no exception. He noted that the show must go on and that the repairs are expected to be completed by the weekend. Stevens also said that the rope-off seats in the sports book area would be reopened by the end of the weekend.
The rapid water flow from sun-baked lots caused vehicles to get stuck in high water near the Las Vegas Boulevard and Main Street intersections. Power outages were reported in various areas, including the Fremont Street Experience mall.
According to Jace Radke, a city official, the Las Vegas Fire Department responded to over 300 calls for service, and its swift-water teams were able to rescue seven people between 9 and 11 p.m. In addition, the Clark County Fire Department was also involved in six water rescues.
In response to the incident, Mayor Carolyn Goodman of Las Vegas issued a statement on Twitter to thank the firefighters and other first responders for their efforts. She said that although the city has beautiful weather, it does experience large storms during the monsoon season.
To minimize the effects of these storms, the city has established flood control facilities that can quickly move water out of the area.
“Thank you to our first responders & Regional Flood Control for keeping residents & visitors safe,” Mayor Goodman said. “Las Vegas has beautiful weather, but we do have large storms in monsoon season. Knowing this, we have flood control infrastructure to quickly move water out of the city to Lake Mead.”
According to Adair, the Las Vegas area receives around 4.2 inches of rain annually. However, the official measurement station at the airport recorded less than 0.7 inches in 2022.
The surface level of the region’s water supply, mainly composed of Lake Mead, has dropped to less than 30 percent.
Although the storm that hit Las Vegas may have caused some flooding in the region, Adair noted that the monsoon moisture would not be able to affect the region’s ongoing drought.
However, Adair said that the winter season could significantly boost the region’s water supply. During this period, various Pacific storms can bring heavy rainfall and snow to the region.
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