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2022 is Vegas’ wettest monsoon season in 10 years, weather service says

Updated August 12, 2022 - 1:23 pm

Thursday’s late night monsoon storm brought enough rain to the valley to make 2022 Las Vegas’ wettest monsoon season in 10 years.

Some downpours exceeded a half inch in 10 minutes.

“It was pretty good coverage,” said meteorologist Chris Outler, who said there were reports of flooding in the usual places, such as near the Linq and some of the washes, but nothing major as of 10:35 p.m.

The recent heavy rains have reduced drought levels in Southern Nevada and much of the Southwest.

“Most locales in Arizona, New Mexico, the California deserts, southern Nevada, and a few other scattered areas have measured at least 200 percent of normal (rainfall) over the past 2 months,” the U.S. Drought Monitor said in a report issued Thursday.

As a result, the “exceptional drought” area in Nevada dropped from nearly 30 percent a week ago to 4 percent on Thursday, its lowest point in nearly two years, the report said.

The National Weather Service said Reid International Airport received .58 inches of rain, raising the total for this monsoon season to 1.28 inches. Most of Thursday’s night rain at the airport fell in 30 minutes.

There was no FFA-ordered ground stop during the storm, but aircraft could not add fuel for about two hours because of lightning, said airport spokesman Joe Rajchel.

There was a report on Twitter of flooding at Planet Hollywood.

The far northeast valley, east part of Henderson and southeast areas didn’t receive rain, but most other areas were drenched.

The east side of the valley was hit with the most rain on July 28, the second night of a monsoon season that residents have not seen for three or more summers.

Thursday’s storm took the same track as a storm that flooded many downtown streets a few weeks ago. Charleston Boulevard experienced flooding, so much so that a Regional Transportation Commission bus had water leaking inside from the road.

Formed in Lincoln County

After forming over Lincoln County, the storm paralleled Interstate 15 and arrived over the Sheep Range.

The weather service said at 8:05 p.m. that it was closely tracking the cell that was over the northern mountains, but wasn’t sure if it would threaten the north valley.

Instead of dissipating with the sunset like Wednesday night’s energy, it gathered energy.

“There were about 220 pulses of lightning in the past five minutes,” meteorologist Morgan Stessman said of the heavy lightning. “Those are not necessarily cloud to ground, some cloud to cloud.”

At 8:25 p.m., the first major cell reached the northern 215 Beltway west of the Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Other strong cells had formed and were following behind it.

By 9 p.m., heavy rain was falling as far south as downtown, the Strip and Spring Valley. Some heavy cells were over Centennial Hills and the northwest valley.

By 9:30 p.m. the heaviest rain was moving into Spring Valley with some across the Strip and into central Henderson.

By 10 p.m., heavy rain was moving to the southwest and south. At 10:25 p.m., the heavy cells had crossed south of the 215 Beltway.

By 11 p.m., the last major but small cell was heading into Sloan. Light rain was still trailing it across much of the valley.

Nearly three-fourths of the Regional Flood Control District gauges showed some rain.

Rainfall examples

— A gauge near downtown showed .51 of an inch, including .43 of an inch in 30 minutes.

— A gauge near Rancho and U.S. 95 in the northwest showed .63 of an inch and .43 of an inch falling in an hour.

— A gauge near I-15 and Charleston Boulevard received .28 of an inch in 15 minutes.

— The Oakey drainage basin received 1.26 inches in 90 minutes.

Contact Marvin Clemons at mclemons@reviewjournal.com. Follow @Marv_in_Vegas on Twitter. Digital Content Producer Taylor Lane contributed to this story.

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