USA – Floods and Swift Water Rescues After Las Vegas Storm

Storms bringing hail, lightning, strong winds and torrential rain, caused severe flooding in the Las Vegas area yesterday, 30 June 2016.

Flash Flood Warnings were issued by the Nation Weather Service in Las Vegas at around 13:00 for Las Vegas, Coyote Springs, Red Rock and the north side of Spring Mountains. In a social media message warning of the oncoming storm, they said “This one is a monster”.

Roads were blocked by flood water up to 50cm deep, leaving vehicles stranded. Several swift-water rescues were carried out by local emergency crews. Around 5,000 homes were left without power after the storm downed cables.

Flood Channels

Relatively small amounts of rain falling on the dry, sun-baked earth in this desert region can swiftly result in fast moving flood water.

The area has a vast network of flood channels (some are called “washes”) and detention basins which appeared to work well during the storm but can become a danger themselves if people go near them during flooding, or worse, actually live in the flood tunnels, as hundreds of homeless people in Nevada are thought to do.

Clark County Regional Flood Control District reported 5 feet (150cm) of fast-moving water in Pittman Wash yesterday and warned residents to stay away from all flood control facilities.

“Stay away from ALL channel and washes! They have flowing water going as fast as 30mph!”

Flood channel, Las Vegas. Photo: Clark County Regional Flood Control District
Flood channel, Las Vegas. Photo: Clark County Regional Flood Control District


NWS Las Vegas said earlier today:

“Las Vegas received 0.47 inches (11.93 mm) rain on June 30. Third wettest day ever in June and made June 2016 the 3rd wettest on record (0.49″).”

According to WMO figures, Las Vegas normally sees 1.8mm average rainfall for the whole of June. Average annual rainfall for Las Vegas is around 92 mm.

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