It was a monsoon season to get wet in.
Now that the summer of frequent storms is officially over, did your neighborhood get only a few sprinkles or perhaps several inches of rain?
The 13-week period that began June 15 and ended Sept. 30 was the wettest monsoon in at least 10 years, according to the National Weather Service, whose Las Vegas office covers Southern Nevada, and parts of southeast California and northwest Arizona.
Meteorologists issued 315 flash flood warnings and even two tornado warnings for small twisters in far northwest Arizona.
“The 315 is the most flash flood warnings we’ve issued since 2010,” meteorologist Brian Planz said. “And we don’t get to issue many tornado warnings.”
Starting in late July, there were billowing clouds almost daily around the Las Vegas Valley. When heated up enough during the afternoon, frequent storms delivered late afternoon or nighttime deluges with wind, thunder and lightning. Power outages and some flash flood damage in various neighborhoods often resulted. Every corner of the valley was touched by rain at some point.
More rain at higher altitude
As expected, higher elevations received the highest rainfall totals with a gauge at Mount Charleston recording the most at 13.98 inches for the season. A nearby gauge at Harris Springs logged 10.28 inches for the 13 weeks. A measuring spot in the middle of the Sheep Range directly north of the valley saw 7.48 inches of rain.
As for staying desert dry, a gauge at Sloan and Interstate 15 recorded just .20 of an inch while a gauge near Trader Joe’s near Green Valley Ranch in Henderson had .28 of an inch over the same period.
On the east side of the valley and more distant, Moapa Valley gauges recorded between 1.97 and 3 inches, the Mesquite area received from 1.19 to 3.3 inches, Boulder City ranged from 2.59 to 3.35 inches and Henderson saw anywhere from 0.43 of an inch to 3.9 inches.
On the west side, Summerlin gauges ranged from .39 of an inch to 2.54 inches.
On the Strip, Caesars Palace logged 1.97 inches, the Strat had 1.61 inches. and a gauge at the Desert Inn Super Arterial took in 2.2 inches.
Outside of the valley, Red Rock Canyon recorded 3.19 inches, Jean had 2.87 inches, a gauge north of Primm logged 4.29 inches and gauges on the far side of the Jean Dry Lake Bed logged 5.28 and 7.32 inches.
You can go here to check the rainfall totals for any gauge in the Regional Flood Control District. Set the parameters for 13 weeks, ending on Sept. 30, 2022, to see the season monsoon totals.
That’s when Henderson and the east valley received heavy rain and high winds with a gust of 71 mph near South Eastern Avenue and East Flamingo Road being the strongest, according to the weather service office in Las Vegas.
Downtown Las Vegas also had several flooded streets, power outages and potent winds.
Unfortunately, the rainfall proved fatal to two men on Aug. 11.
The Clark County Fire Department said firefighters were called to the area of Mandalay Bay Road near Giles Street at 10:30 p.m. for a person in a flood channel who needed a swift water rescue, according to Deputy Fire Chief Billy Samuels.
It was not clear how he ended up in the channel, but Samuels said that every year, firefighters are called to a handful of fatalities in flood channels during monsoon season.
A woman was rescued from a north valley flood channel after being pulled along some two miles during heavy rainfall.
Casinos not spared
The storms caused issues with residents and businesses, including casinos. On July 28, Circa’s sportsbook had water flow in through a large screen and into the carpeted lower level. The action didn’t slow much, but staffers armed with large broom-like squeegees and plastic garbage pails were able to move the water and begin the drying process.
Caesars Palace and Planet Hollywood also had reports of flooding, but quickly overcame the obstacles.
And, as usual, the flood channel that the Linq is built on top of took nearly all of the runoff from any rain that falls near the Strip.
Death Valley disasters
Outside of Las Vegas, Death Valley National Park set a record for the wettest day in its history when 1.7 inches deluged the park in the morning hours of Aug. 5. Fortunately, about 500 visitors and 500 staffers avoided injury when stranded in the park for several hours or overnight. Aerial searches over the weekend found plenty of damage, but no deaths or injured visitors.
And then there were more storms on a regular basis for the following month.
It will take months and millions of dollars to repair the roads and trails in the 3.4-million-acre park, says the National Park Service.
On Aug. 21, two tornadoes were caught on video near Littlefield, Arizona. At least one touched down, but no damage was reported.
Weather service statistics
The Las Vegas office of the weather service has compiled statistics for the just concluded monsoon season.
To go with the flash flood warnings, the Las Vegas office issued 94 severe thunderstorm warnings, 10 dust storm warnings and the two rare tornado warnings.
There were 26 days of thunder and Harry Reid International Airport received 1.77 inches of rain during the 117 days.
A wet monsoon season was recorded in 2012 when the airport received 3.63 inches. Several of the monsoon seasons from 2014 to 2021 were largely void of storms, especially 2020 when just a trace was recorded at the airport and 2021 amounted to only .65 of an inch.