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Calm returns to area weather

Residents dreaming of a warm and dry Christmas got their holiday wishes fulfilled Friday as Red Rock Canyon was reopened after flooding, the avalanche evacuation order for the Echo Canyon area of Mount Charleston was lifted and the Red Cross closed its three shelters for area storm victims.

“It’s a good thing because it means (the shelters) are no longer needed,” said Jennifer Ramieh, a spokeswoman for the Southern Nevada chapter of the American Red Cross.

Bilbray Elementary School, a shelter for Mount Charleston residents, served two people Thursday. Virgin Valley High School in Mesquite did not receive any evacuees Thursday but did a serve a total of 17 people during the week.

The Red Cross opened a third shelter at Moapa Valley High School on Thursday night when the Muddy River near Overton flooded.

The flooding appeared to be minor since no one took advantage of the shelter and Clark County did not get any reports of structural damage in Overton, county spokesman Dan Kulin said.

After a tumultuous week of flooding in Mesquite and heavy snowfall on Mount Charleston, a new storm is headed toward the Las Vegas Valley this evening, but is not expected to bring much precipitation in the form of either snow or rain, said John Salmen, a meteorologist for the National Weather Service.

“It should be a quick shot,” Salmen said.

Skies were expected to be overcast today with temperatures in the 60s, he added.

The 13-mile scenic drive at Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area and the overlook on state Route 159 are now available for holiday diversions.

Some areas along the loop remain closed because of flood damage, including White Rock Road, Oak Creek Road and the Lost Creek/Willow Springs area. These are anticipated to reopen after the weekend. For information, call 515-5350.

Christmas Day won’t be much of a holiday for Nevada Energy crews working to restore power on Mount Charleston.

NV Energy spokesman Mark Severts said crews restored power to the Old Town and Rainbow hamlets on Friday, and crews were still working to restore electricity to homes in the Echo area.

He said most Kyle Canyon customers will have electricity for Christmas.

The Kyle Canyon area has been deluged with more than 8 feet of snow. Only residents are allowed to past the junction of Nevada Routes 157 and 158.

The voluntary evacuation order for Echo Canyon has been lifted since an avalanche warning was downgraded to an advisory.

Echo residents are still warned to be wary of the heavy snow sliding from rooftops and against playing in the snow.

Nearby Lee Canyon is a different story since the website for Las Vegas Ski & Snowboard Resort is promoting “pure white bliss.”

“It’s typical Christmas,” said Curt Sheffield, business manager for the Las Vegas Ski and Snowboard Resort in nearby Lee Canyon. “We’re busy and everybody is smiling.”

Contact James Haug at jhaug@reviewjournal.com or 702-799-2922.

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