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Las Vegas ties rainless record after dry summer

Updated September 17, 2020 - 3:36 pm

The last time Las Vegas saw measurable rain, it was springtime and valley residents probably assumed they would be done working from home any day now.

On April 20, 150 days ago, the temperature reached 79 degrees after a chilly morning at 59 degrees, and McCarran International Airport reported 0.2 inches of rain.

As of Thursday, Las Vegas tied its longest streak of no measurable rain at McCarran since that April day. If Friday stays as dry as predicted, the record of 150 days without measurable rain set in 1959 will be broken.

“We’ve had quite a few traces since then but nothing measurable,” National Weather Service meteorologist Caleb Steele said.

No rain on horizon

Steele said there’s no rain in sight either, with sunny days expected through early next week. Highs are expected to stay just over 100 Friday before dipping to 99 for the weekend. Lows will stay in the mid- to upper-70s.

Friday is expected to be even hazier than Thursday because of regional wildfires. Steele said residents can expect frequent hazy days until the fires are under control.

“It’s not nearly as thick as Labor Day, but we’ll be dealing with that for a while,” he said .

The Clark County Department of Environment and Sustainability extended a smoke advisory through Monday because of the persistent wildfires and corresponding smoke throughout the southwest.

“Under today’s conditions, it may be best for children, the elderly and people with respiratory and heart disease to stay indoors,” Clark County officials announced Thursday afternoon.

The county advised keeping windows closed, changing air filters and limiting outdoor exercise through the weekend.

While the 100-degree temperatures may be stifling those who are hoping to welcome autumn, Steele said a high around 100 usually lasts only until Sept. 16, and the latest 100-degree day ever recorded in the valley was Oct. 4, 1947.

“It looks like we’re right on schedule,” he said. “After Friday, we dip below that mark and stay just a hair under it for the next week.”

Friday is expected to reach 102 degrees, tying Thursday’s high. Meteorologists also have issued a red flag warning beginning at 11 a.m. Friday because of windy, dry conditions.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced last week that La Niña, the cooler, drier counterpart of the better-known El Niño weather pattern, has formed in the Pacific Ocean. Steele said if La Niña was the only factor in the valley’s weather, the weather service would expect a drier winter, but Las Vegas winters involve several other factors.

“If that was the only factor, it would tend for us to favor a drier winter,” he said. “But in the last 20 years they’ve been quite variable. There’s not a real good connection for that alone.”

Contact Sabrina Schnur at sschnur@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0278. Follow @sabrina_schnur on Twitter.

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