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Wet carpets anyone? Las Vegas Valley’s 48-hour rainfall totals

Updated September 3, 2023 - 9:05 am

Las Vegas hardware stores had a run on large rental fans this weekend as people tried to dry out water-damaged residences.

Debris-filled roads, standing or flowing water several feet deep where it normally is dry and nearly full drainage basins are one thing. Water 4 inches deep getting into two bedrooms, a hallway and two bathrooms takes the angst to a higher level.

“Last time I was able to get seven fans at Home Depot, but today they only had three left so I got them all,” Sun City Summerlin resident Sylvia Johnson told the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

Ceiling fans were on high speed and some carpets have been pulled. Come Sunday morning she’ll return from a night at her daughter’s house to open windows for more ventilation.

It was Johnson’s third time wading and worrying through a flooding episode this summer, she said.

Her fingers are crossed for a contractor’s efforts to dig deeper and get more water protection around the house foundation to hopefully prevent future flooding issues. As water comes in, a pocketbook empties.

Soggy 48 hours

Such is one battle among hundreds or thousands as Southern Nevadans cope with Mother Nature’s Labor Day weekend delivery of a very soggy 48 hours — perhaps unrivaled in the valley’s weather history.

“Perhaps” is the key word because the valley does not have comprehensive valley-wide rain gauge data, just a single official measuring station at Harry Reid International Airport. It is backed up by the National Weather Service office a few miles away on South Decatur Boulevard.

“It’s not even close (to being a weekend rain record) for the airport,” said weather service meteorologist Clay Morgan. “But for the valley as a whole, it was very wet.”

He wouldn’t delve into his 20-year history of serving the local weather service office because “we deal on hard data, not faulty memory.”

Wet, indeed. As in 3.78 inches at Flamingo Wash at Nellis Boulevard or 2.76 inches at The Lakes or even 2.60 inches at Red Rock Canyon.

3.19 inches in 2 hours at Jean

A gauge in the desert on sloping terrain almost 5 miles southwest of Jean recorded 3.19 inches in two hours (about 2.4 inches falling within 45 minutes) Saturday afternoon. The runoff swamped Interstate 15, closing the southbound lanes well into the overnight hours if not longer Sunday.

Social media posts showed northbound motorists out of their cars on apparently dry pavement standing at a concrete median watching a river running over the southbound lanes.

Despite the nearly 4 inches in a handful of places, the official Las Vegas two-day figure for Friday and Saturday will be 1.18 inches as recorded at the weather service office. That’s because power was interrupted to the airport’s Automated Surface Observing System on Friday.

Once that happened, humans trained in weather observations took over, but the official record will be that recorded at the Decatur office, Morgan said.

And it may not be over.

Sunday brings what appears to be a slim chance for thunderstorms, Morgan said.

“Our best shot is early afternoon, but they will be moving east very quickly so it is a short window,” Morgan said.

From Friday morning through Sunday morning night (48 hours), here are the rain totals for selected parts of the valley, as recorded by gauges operated by the Regional Flood Control District:

Location, total rainfall for 48 hours

Flamingo Wash at Nellis — 3.78 inches

Grapevine Springs 2 (halfway from Route 157 to Mount Charleston — 3.35 inches

Jean (4.9 miles southwest of Jean) — 3.31 inches

Las Vegas Wash at Las Vegas — 3.15 inches

Las Vegas Wash at Nellis — 3.07 inches

Russell Road realignment near Hualapai Way — 2.83 inches

Beltway channel at S. Buffalo — 2.80 inches

The Lakes — 2.76 inches

Red Rock Canyon — 2.60 inches

Rainbow Blvd. at West Desert Inn — 2.56 inches

Flamingo Wash at Torrey Pines — 2.56 inches

Smoke Ranch at Buffalo — 2.52 inches

South Hualapai and West Russell — 2.44 inches

Flamingo Wash at Spencer — 2.44 inches

Harris Springs 1 — 2.36 inches

Upper LV Wash near Shadow Ridge GC — 2.32 inches

East end of Charleston behind Hollywood Regional Park — 2.24 inches

Blue Diamond Ridge South — 2.24 inches

Blue Diamond near Hualapai — 2.23 inches

Far Hills at LVVWD basin — 2.20 inches

Downtown Las Vegas — 2.17 inches

Desert Inn Arterial — 2.13 inches

Tropicana near Arville — 2.13 inches

Charleston at I-15 — 2.13 inches

Beltway channel at Peace Way — 2.13 inches

Las Vegas Wash at Craig Road — 2.09 inches

Rainbow Canyon — 2.09 inches

Rainbow Curve — 2.01 inches

Torrey Pines at Oakey — 1.97 inches

Near South Point Casino — 1.97 inches

Gowan Road North near Alexander — 1.93 inches

Angel Park West — 1.93 inches

Charleston at Rampart — 1.85 inches

Sunrise Landfill at base of Frenchman’s Mountain — 1.73 inches

Rio at Twain — 1.46 inches

Contact Marvin Clemons at mclemons@reviewjournal.com. Follow @Marv_in_Vegas on X.

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