Valley residents slide down storm’s snowy path

Let it snow, let it snow! That was the battle cry heard from people sledding at Lee Canyon today. About 30 people used the day to take advantage of several feet of snow the week’s storms dumped on Mount Charleston.

Among the crowd were a group of airmen stationed at Nellis Air Force Base, enjoying their day off in the cold weather. One was Ken Henderson, 19, who made several runs down the steep, rolling hill on his stomach before he decided to try his luck standing.

But Henderson soon discovered the $10 piece of plastic he’d bought at a discount store wasn’t the sturdiest sled in the shed, and after a particularly nasty fall, he’d had enough.

“My head is still ringing from the last time, man,” he said. “I’m done.”

Henderson, who grew up in California, said he’s lived in Las Vegas about seven months. He’d already made it through the scorching temperatures of the summer, he said, and wanted to try out the opposite.

“It’s a real change of pace from January in Vegas,” said Henderson. “Out here it feels like a real winter.”

Although the week’s storms brought snow to the mountains, residents in the Las Vegas Valley experienced a different kind of precipitation — rain.

The latest storm system dumped 0.89 inches at the official measuring station at McCarran International Airport on Thursday, a record for any individual day in January, shattering the previous Jan. 21 record of 0.4 inches. Today, only trace amounts fell, according to the National Weather Service.

Slightly more rain fell this week than all of last year, which saw only 1.59 inches of rain. Emergency response crews scrambled from one weather-related crisis to another Thursday.

In a wash along Interstate 15 near Sahara Avenue, firefighters rescued two homeless men from rising water. On the east side of town, a woman lost control of her car on the slick roads and struck two Las Vegas police motorcycle officers, who suffered injuries that were not life threatening.

Las Vegas will receive a break from the rain this weekend. The weather service predicts mostly sunny weather with temperatures in the low 50s for both Saturday and Sunday.

Nevertheless, representatives of Little League baseball, softball and soccer leagues have been instructed to cancel events scheduled at Clark County fields this weekend because wet conditions could lead to extensive damage.

Nine organizations representing perhaps 2,000 children and adults have been advised to cancel their league events on at Desert Breeze Park, the Silver Bowl and numerous other facilities. Lights that would normally be left on in the evening to accommodate the leagues are being turned off.

Officials said the wet conditions are such that allowing the leagues to operate would likely result in extensive damage to fields. Conditions will be evaluated on Monday to determine if further cancellations are necessary.

The only fields being used for organized events are those at McCarran Marketplace at 1845 E. Russell Road, where the artificial turf fields are playing host to the Ultimate Frisbee Tournament. The tourney was moved to that field from the grass fields at the Silver Bowl.

The forecast for Tuesday and Wednesday includes a chance of rain for Las Vegas.

And if rain in Las Vegas equates to snow in the mountains, that won’t bother Denece Britz one bit. Britz, 20, spent today sledding on Mount Charleston with her boyfriend, niece and nephew. She loves the snow and is glad not everyone in the valley ventures to the mountains in the winter, she said.

“That’s a good thing,” she said. “More for us.”

Britz said she took a day off work for sledding, although she didn’t want to say where she worked.

“I don’t want to get in trouble,” she said, laughing.

Phillip Casall, 23, said he made the drive to Mount Charleston after seeing the snow-capped mountains from his residence near the Strip.

At 6 a.m., he said he began calling all his friends in preparation for the day. He even bought a $15 twin-bed air mattress, which his friends rode down the hills.

“This is like the whole other side of the world,” Casall said.

Not all the folks on the mountain were looking for an adrenaline rush, however.

Ben Boyd brought his 3-year-old daughter, Preslee Jayn, sledding in preparation for next year, when he plans to teach her snowboarding. Boyd, who was born and raised in Las Vegas, said he wanted to bring his daughter outside after a long week of rainy weather in the valley.

“Kids don’t like to be cooped up all day,” he said.

Contact reporter Mike Blasky at mblasky@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0283.

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