Second Round of Las Vegas Flooding Leaves 2 Dead
Two people were killed by raging rainwater in the second round of monsoonal flooding to hit Las Vegas in two weeks.
At around 10:30 p.m. on Thursday, Clark County fire and police removed a victim from a flood channel behind Mandalay Bay. That individual was transported to University Medical Center but died, according to the Clark County Fire Department.
On Friday, a man’s body was found by firefighters and public works crews removing debris from an area not far from the same flood channel. Neither of the victims’ identities or causes of death have been released.
Sheets of water poured through casino ceilings and flooded streets for the second time in two weeks as Las Vegas experienced its wettest monsoon season in a decade. In addition, more than 17,500 people were left without power,
One Twitter user, Sean Sable, trained his camera phone on the ceiling of Planet Hollywood and commented, “You’re not going to believe this, but I’m not sure if it’s raining more inside Planet Hollywood or outside.”
Rainwater also flooded the Caesars Palace casino floor from multiple sprinkler heads, according to reports, as staff tried to block off the flooded area using slot machine chairs. Outside, the Las Vegas Strip was largely unpassable, with cars wading up to their bumpers.
A similar deluge hit Las Vegas on June 29, causing water to cascade from casino ceilings and pool on carpets. But no injuries were reported then.
Hell or High Water
Harry Reid International Airport recorded 0.58 of an inch of rain in just an hour on Thursday night, nearly double what the site typically observes for August. That brought the total for this year’s monsoon season to 1.28 inches. Las Vegas hasn’t been that wet since 2012 when 3.63 inches fell. The all-time wettest monsoon season was in 1984, with 4.16 inches. The monsoon season runs from June 15 to Sept. 30.
According to the National Weather Service, the rains were caused by slow-moving, intense thunderstorms entrenched across the Mojave Desert. They are expected to continue through the weekend.
Will it Help the Drought?
While runoff from storms in the Las Vegas area will reach the lake, monsoon moisture will not likely affect the ongoing regional drought. After June 29, a 3-inch rise in Lake Mead’s water level was recorded. But National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration hydrologist Paul Miller, who helps make water supply forecasts for the Colorado River Basin Forecast Center, told Casino.org it was a “drop in the bucket” that really didn’t really matter in the long run.
Lake Mead’s water level has dropped to a historic low as the Southwest experiences what one recent UCLA study called its “most severe megadrought in 1,200 years.” The nation’s largest reservoir, part of a system providing water to more than 40 million residents of the US Southwest, is only 27% filled.
One year ago, Lake Mead sat at 1,067.71 feet. Two years ago, it sat at 1,084.65 feet. And according to Bureau of Reclamation projections, it will continue falling at least another 20 feet before the end of 2022.
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