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Not a ‘normal Vegas’: Winter storm disrupts valley — PHOTOS

Updated January 22, 2024 - 5:35 pm

Unseasonably thick and persistent fog plus rainfall from a storm system dominated the Las Vegas Valley all day Monday and into the night, making Harry Reid International Airport worst in the nation for flight delays and cancellations.

Reid had by far the most disrupted flights in the country with 291 delayed from takeoff — the next highest was Los Angeles International Airport with 19 delays — with 41 flights canceled, and 350 delayed landings and 41 touchdowns canceled, according to FlightAware.

Southwest Airlines was affected the most, with 291 delays and 42 cancellations, and Spirit Airlines second with 72 delays and eight canceled flights, FlightAware reported.

That storm, combined with clouds and low winds, made the fog stick around, said Morgan Steffman, meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Las Vegas.

‘The fog, that just hit me, like wow’

Pedestrians interviewed on the wet, foggy and low-lit streets of the downtown Summerlin shopping district just after dusk Monday seemed to be taken aback a bit by it all, but were rolling with it.

“Actually, pulling up from the freeway in Summerlin was crazy, like you could hardly see in front of you,” Las Vegas resident Javier Fuhriman said about the bank of fog still looming above. “And that’s really surprising. It was totally dark. You could only see like a hundred feet in front of you.”

“Honestly, I thought it was pretty beautiful,” the 23-year-old added. “It was definitely a different feeling than normal Vegas. So it’s just really a strange kind of year. Kind of a late, late winter.”

“I really enjoy the weather, it’s been pretty nice,” said his companion, Xiang Navarrette, 23, also from Vegas.

“It was super hard to see, crazy roads,” said Trinity Redford, 25, of Henderson, holding an umbrella and a takeout pizza amid the rainfall. “I haven’t seen this kind of fog in Las Vegas before.”

But the heavy rains bode well, Redford said. “It’ll be nice to have some greenery in a little bit.”

“The fog, that just hit me, like wow,” said Justice Reed, 15, of Las Vegas. “I mean, it was unexpected. It just came out of nowhere. And they said it was going to rain. It was going to be light rain, but it was very heavy.”

Rio Ortiz-Luis, 49, of Riverside, Calif., in town visiting his brother, said they drove to Lake Mead on Monday and the fog blocked their view of the water, “but otherwise, it’s kind of OK, not half as bad those in Riverside.”

“This heavy rain is it a good relief because basically Vegas happens to be a desert country,” he said. “It’s a blessing. At least it will help alleviating the two decade drought.”

40 percent chance of rain Tuesday

The chance of rain, measured at Reid airport, in the valley is about 40 percent on a cloudy Tuesday, with temperatures ranging from 58 to 44, then more clouds Wednesday and a 10 percent prospect of showers and the mercury hitting up to 60 and falling to 44, the weather service said.

On Thursday, a 20 percent likelihood of rainfall is predicted early then sunny in the daytime and mostly clear at night with a high of 60 degrees and low of 42. The forecast then calls for sunny on Friday with a high of 60 down to a low of 41, the service reported.

As for snowfall, that will be a factor only in the mountains 7,000 feet or higher, along with cloudy and foggy conditions, Steffman said.

Fog hampered traffic around the valley, and the weather service warned drivers to beware of wet and slick roads, and to slow down during heavy rainfall.

Regional Flood Control District rainfall gauges showed most parts of the valley received .04 of an inch to 0.16 of an inch of rain by Monday afternoon, with some parts of Summerlin and Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area seeing between 0.35 to over an inch of rain.

More snow expected

Lee Canyon reported an inch of snow over 24 hours on Monday after receiving 2 inches of snow overnight Saturday.

The expected Monday snowfall of up to a foot would delight snow lovers. The resort has received 35 inches of snow this year and four of five lifts are open, but only six of 31 trails can be used.

The Nevada Department of Transportation announced Monday evening that snow tires or chains were required to travel on Kyle Canyon Lee Canyon and Deer Creek roads.

Sledding on the slopes near Mount Charleston is still not a good idea because of insufficient snow, officials are advising. Reports on social media say a woman was knocked unconscious while attempting to sled on Saturday.

Contact Jeff Burbank at jburbank@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0382. Follow him @JeffBurbank2 on X.

Review-Journal digital producers Taylor Lane and Marvin Clemons contributed to this report.

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