The Las Vegas Valley’s second snow fall in a week caused a temporary highway closure Wednesday night.
Shortly after 7:30 p.m., the Nevada Highway Patrol tweeted that state Route 160 was closed in both directions because of heavy snowfall. The road was reopened at about 9:35 p.m., though snow plows were still at work, according to the Highway Patrol.
— NHP Southern Command (@NHPSouthernComm) February 21, 2019
Further road closures had not been reported Wednesday night.
Reports of snow started coming from Red Rock Canyon at about 3 p.m. Wednesday. By about 5:40 p.m., snow made its way farther into the western valley, with reports of flurries in Summerlin along the 215 Beltway, National Weather Service meteorologist Andy Gorelow said.
By 8:25 p.m. the weather service reported that temperatures in the valley were in the lower to mid 30s, which could cause ice on roadways. The snow had accumulated about 1 to 2 inches in the western valley, according to a tweet from the weather service.
At 825PM. Temperatures throughout the Las #Vegas Valley are currently in the lower to mid 30s. Watch for ice and snow covered roads, especially over the far western valley where 1-2 inches of snow has accumulated. #VegasWeather #nvwx
— NWS Las Vegas (@NWSVegas) February 21, 2019
The Highway Patrol will be closely monitoring road conditions, especially on the 215 Beltway near Summerlin and along I-15 south of Las Vegas.
The Highway Patrol suggests drivers begin morning commutes earlier than normal and use caution while on the roads, including leaving increased distances between vehicles, decreasing speeds and allowing more room to brake.
Drivers also are warned to be extremely cautious on overpasses and on- and off-ramps.
Even if the snow doesn’t stick around for long the valley, rain and temperatures hovering near freezing could form black ice. Black ice is nearly invisible and extremely dangerous to drive on.
The Nevada Department of Transportation will have two snowplows stationed in the valley and can request two additional plows from Mountain Springs and Mount Charleston if needed.
The department also has 250 tons a deicing agent stored at six maintenance stations throughout Clark County. The department said it’s priorities will be major highways, especially Interstate 15 connecting Las Vegas to Southern California.
After a snowstorm moved into the valley Sunday night, a portion of I-15 was closed Monday morning because of poor road conditions. Both the Nevada Highway Patrol and the Transportation Department have the authority to call for a shutdown, but that is something transportation spokesman Tony Illia said his department doesn’t do lightly.
“We take a shutdown of I-15 very seriously,” he said. “We try to keep it open at all costs. The closure (on Monday) was done by NHP and they have the right to do that if they feel public safety is at risk. … That’s a last resort. That’s why we’re doing all this preparation to hopefully avoid something like that.”
Tips for black ice
The Nevada Department of Transportation offers these tips on what to do if you encounter black ice while driving:
— Don’t panic or overreact.
— Allow the vehicle to pass over the ice and avoid abruptly hitting the brakes.
— Try to keep the steering wheel straight.
— If your vehicle begins to fishtail or slide, gently turn the wheel in the direction of the skid and slowly remove foot from accelerator.