Evacuations urged after avalanches near Las Vegas
MOUNT CHARLESTON, Nev (AP) – Police went door to door Thursday urging residents to evacuate two mountain hamlets near Las Vegas after three overnight snow slides stirred fears of a disastrous avalanche.
No injuries or structural damage were reported on Mount Charleston after the small to moderate avalanches struck about 40 miles northwest of Las Vegas.
“This is terrible,” homeowner Jeff Anderson, 63, said about the snowfall. “It is so wet it keeps packing down.”
Anderson was just down the mountain from a police checkpoint and did not plan to evacuate. His son and grandson also planned to stay into the new year.
Anderson said he had a party planned for New Year’s Eve and was not canceling yet.
“We can always leave when we want – the only thing is no power,” he said.
More than 300 customers remained without power on the mountain after heavy snow knocked down power lines three days ago.
Rain and snow throughout the week downed trees, limbs and power poles, making it difficult for crews to restore electricity. The homes might not have power until Christmas, NV Energy spokesman Mark Severts said.
As the sun shined Thursday, loads of snow that had collected on giant trees was melting and creating slippery conditions on neighborhood roads. But the main road up the mountain was clear, and authorities allowed residents and others to drive up the mountain even without 4-wheel drive vehicles or chains.
Some roads remained closed as workers cleared storm debris.
General Manager Tim Ouillette at The Resort on Mount Charleston said power went out for about six hours on Tuesday but came back up without the hotel needing to close. The hotel would remain open through the weekend, he said.
A 13-mile scenic drive and visitor center at Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area west of Las Vegas was shut down for a third day.
At least 17 homes in Mesquite near the border of Utah and Nevada suffered minor damage from flooding from the Virgin River Tuesday and Wednesday, according to the Red Cross.
Associated Press writer Cristina Silva contributed to this report.