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Snowstorm 1 year ago turned Las Vegas into winter wonderland

Happy snowy-versary, Las Vegas.

Thursday marks one year since the arrival of the Feb. 20-21, 2019, snowstorm that closed schools, snagged traffic and broke a decade-long, snowless streak. It was the second snowstorm to hit the valley in a week; the first came on Feb. 17, 2019.

That second storm began on a Wednesday and continued into Thursday, dropping upward of 7 inches of snow in some parts of the valley and causing closures of Interstates 11 and 15 and U.S. Highway 95 in Southern Nevada.

Desert residents took advantage of the rare accumulative occasions. They flocked to their neighborhood parks to frolic in the fluff, sled down the hills or build snowmen. For others, the snow warranted a trip to pose for a snowy photo the Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas sign or a stroll down the Strip.

While both storms blanketed several swaths of the valley under multiple inches of snow, the Feb. 17, storm left but a trace at McCarran International Airport, where the National Weather Service makes its official Las Vegas measurements. The second storm brought 0.8 inches of snow to the airport to mark the city’s first measurable snowfall since 2008.

A decade prior, a storm dumped 3.6 inches of snow at the airport and prompted the Clark County School District to close its schools.

Students were treated to another rare “snow” day on Feb. 22, 2019, after the week’s second storm. The worst of it had largely subsided by the previous evening, but the potential for icy roads caused school district officials to play it safe and call off classes the next day.

Last February’s snowstorms were the highlight of a month that was as wintry as it gets for Las Vegas. By the second storm, the weather service had measured five days in February with at least trace amounts of snow at the airport, meteorologist Andy Gorelow said at the time. That tied the record set in 1949 for the most days snow has fallen in February.

A week after the dual snowstorms, the valley saw what at the time was its warmest day of the year.

Contact Mike Shoro at mshoro@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-5290. Follow @mike_shoro on Twitter.

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