Flooding hits Vegas after rain
August 27, 2013
LAS VEGAS — Drivers took detours Monday around roads closed by debris and torrential runoff from thunderstorms spawned by the remnants of a tropical storm that also forced the rescue of people stuck in stalled vehicles.
Las Vegas officials estimated storm damage at more than $300,000 and said most problems were in the northwest part of the city.
There were no immediate reports of injuries or buildings damaged, but fire officials reported making 18 swift-water rescues between 2:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Sunday.
Fire spokesman Tim Szymanski said most of the incidents involved vehicles stuck in deep water.
A flood watch remained in effect as Clark County School District officials told parents in affected areas not to worry if their children were late arriving for the first day of school.
"Anyone late or tardy or who needs to stay home, it will be an excused absence," district spokeswoman Melinda Malone said.
Buses and parents driving students to one northwest Las Vegas high school found roads made impassible by debris and a slick slurry washed from areas burned by the massive Carpenter 1 wildfire about a month ago.
"These roadways have become flooded with a black, mucky combination of water, ash and soot," city spokeswoman Diana Paul said in a statement warning motorists that the mixture can be as slippery as ice.
Just a trace of rain fell Sunday at the official National Weather Service measuring station at McCarran International Airport.
But just 20 miles away, intense thunderstorms dumped more than four inches in a matter of hours in an area near Mount Charleston, meteorologist Chris Stumpf said.
Stumpf said a flash flood watch was extended through 8 p.m. Monday in the Las Vegas area, due to monsoonal moisture from the remnants of Tropical Storm Ivo.
Most of the runoff was channeled into a sprawling network of flood control catch basins and channels protecting neighborhoods below mountain foothills. However, some overflow sluiced down streets.
North Las Vegas traffic officials closed a stretch of Aliante Parkway until Tuesday to allow crews to clear debris.
The downpour also forced the temporary closure of U.S. 95 north of Horse Drive. The highway was reopened after being cleared of rocks and debris.
Rushing water washed out a stretch of State Route 157, the main highway to hamlets in the Kyle Canyon area of Mount Charleston.
Officials said Monday they would only allow Mount Charleston residents to pass on a single lane through the repair zone, with the Nevada Highway Patrol restricting access and flaggers directing traffic. Repairs were expected to take several days.