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LOOKING BACK: Historic floods in Las Vegas Valley — PHOTOS

Thursday’s massive storm across the Las Vegas Valley triggered more than several memories of all-time flooding in what normally is a very arid spot, as Lake Mead’s falling capacity illustrates.

This gallery is accompanied by Review-Journal remembrances of several of those events. (The 2003 entry also contains information from The Associated Press).

July 3, 1975

A summer monsoon triggered a flash flood in the Las Vegas Valley.

While some gamblers sat unaware inside Las Vegas Strip casinos, floodwaters put Interstate 15 exits underwater and closed major intersections.

Raging water swept down the Flamingo Wash into the parking lot at Caesars Palace on the Strip, flooding hundreds of cars. Cranes had to be brought in to move the cars. Some vehicles were reported to be found miles away from Caesars.

Rushing water and erosion brought down telephone poles. Sewage plants were overwhelmed, and fetid water was expelled through manhole covers.

Well owners were warned of contamination. Estimates of damage exceeded $4 million.

While directing traffic, two North Las Vegas city employees died after they were hit by a wall of water at Losee and Craig roads and were swept away from their vehicle.

July 8, 1999

Just before 11 a.m., the National Weather Service logged the first few drops of a summer storm.

By 12:15 p.m., parts of the Las Vegas Valley were under water, and rain would continue to fall until about 3 p.m. The storm dumped billions of gallons of rain that damaged homes and businesses, flipped cars, flooded streets and caused millions of dollars in damage.

Weather service meteorologist Todd Lericos said the storm started on the west side of town and slowly moved toward the center. The valley slopes downward from west to east, so even as floodwater ran downhill, the storm followed it.

“So you’re dropping more rainwater on the flood before it made it downstream, and that really amplified the flooding,” Lericos said.

Two people died in the storm. A woman was killed in a rain-related crash on Boulder Highway at the start of the storm, and police later pulled the body of a drowned man out of the Flamingo Wash.

The Metropolitan Police Department received about 1,200 emergency calls, more than twice the usual daily number at the time. Metro and the Las Vegas, North Las Vegas and Clark County fire departments received more than 3,100 calls.

Aug. 19, 2003

Powerful thunderstorms dumped as much as 3 inches of rain on parts of Las Vegas and Henderson, causing flash floods that trapped motorists atop their cars and swamped some neighborhoods.

The torrential downpour came as thunderstorms pounded the area, bringing severe flooding primarily to the northwest section of the city.

The intense storm dumped 3 inches of rain in 90 minutes in one area, overwhelming flood control channels. Officials said 2.3 inches of rain was recorded in 20 minutes in another neighborhood.

The storm also closed a portion of U.S. Highway 95, rendered a responding fire truck immobile and sent people scrambling to their rooftops for rescue by helicopter.

Sept. 11, 2012

Record rainfall drenched the driest city in North America, stranding drivers and cars, delaying flights, swamping the county courthouse lobby and producing a wall of floodwater that swept a golf course maintenance man to his death.

Luis Lopez-Solis, 31, of Las Vegas, disappeared while he was working at Desert Rose Golf Course, along the Las Vegas Wash.

At UNLV, a parking lot near the Thomas & Mack Center was covered with several feet of water, submerging some vehicles to the bottoms of their doors and deeper.

A storm in August killed 17-year-old Green Valley High School senior William Mootz when floodwaters swept him away.

He disappeared after falling into the fast-moving rapids of the Pittman Wash behind the Target store at Stephanie Street and Sunset Road in Henderson.

Contact Tony Garcia at tgarcia@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0307. Follow @TonyGLVNews on Twitter.

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