Las Vegas gets first rain in 116 days

Updated January 8, 2018 - 10:02 pm

Monday’s dry spell-snapping drizzle will give way to heavier widespread rain in the Las Vegas Valley on Tuesday, the National Weather Service said.

“There may even be a few rumbles of thunder in there as well,” Kate Guillet, a meteorologist with the weather service, said Monday.

The weather service said most parts of the valley got at least several hundredths of an inch of rainfall Monday, with heavier rain occurring along the valley’s western edge. Most of the valley should expect to see from a quarter-inch to a half-inch of rainfall Tuesday.

Rain returned to the valley Monday morning for the first time since Sept. 13. The weather service recorded the first drop of rain at 9:55 a.m. at the valley’s official weather station, McCarran International Airport.

The precipitation ended the record 116-day dry spell.

The community officially entered record territory Dec. 24, when it surpassed the previous mark of 101 days without rain, set in 1944.

Meteorologist Chris Outler credited the record-breaking dry spell to a strong weather pattern.

“We just kind of got sucked into this dry weather pattern that deflected rain,” he said Monday, “and we just weren’t able break the pattern all season until now.”

The valley usually gets about 4.2 inches of rain per year, Guillet said, but 2017 brought only about 2.4 inches.

December through February are typically the year’s wettest months, with the average rainfall in January coming in at just over a half-inch, the weather service said. According to the Climate Prediction Center, Southern Nevada can expect to see a normal amount of rain this month.

Guillet warned drivers on Tuesday to take it slow, use headlights and leave plenty of space between vehicles. Oil buildup can create slick roadways in the rain, she said.

“It can be as slippery as a road covered in ice,” she said.

North Las Vegas police said wet conditions may have contributed to a crash that killed a 21-year-old man Monday night. The Nevada Highway Patrol will be tracking crashes into the Wednesday evening traffic rush, a spokesman said.

A winter storm warning also will be in effect through Tuesday evening for the Spring Mountains. The weather service expects more than 8 inches of snow to fall above 7,000 feet.

Tuesday’s wet conditions will accompany a forecast high of 57 degrees in the valley. Overcast skies will begin to break up Wednesday, when partly cloudy to mostly sunny skies are expected to accompany a 62-degree high.

The valley will see sunny skies for the remainder of the week with temperatures in the low-to-mid 60s. Nighttime lows throughout the week will stay in the mid-40s.

Contact Blake Apgar at bapgar@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-5298. Follow @blakeapgar on Twitter. Contact Rio Lacanlale at rlacanlale@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0381. Follow @riolacanlale on Twitter.

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