An unlikely thing happened in parts of the Las Vegas Valley on Thursday, even though it was 51 degrees outside: snow showers.
“It’s pretty impressive,” said meteorologist Ashley Wolf of the local National Weather Service. “But if it’s cold enough and the surface is dry, sometimes when that happens, you can get just enough flakes.”
The first reports of snow showers came in about 1 p.m. in the Summerlin area and near Lee Canyon on Mount Charleston, although “none of it is really sticking in the lower elevations,” Wolf said.
Snow was not in the forecast. Laughing, Wolf said, “I would never forecast snow at 50 degrees.”
The strange weather was made possible by a combination of things, Wolf said, including a cold front carrying some moisture and abnormally low-hanging clouds at 7,500 feet.
“It’s dry underneath those clouds, and that dry air naturally cools everything off even though it’s pretty warm outside,” she explained. “That’s why they’re getting snow.”
By the end of the day, flurries were recorded in the Summerlin and northwest Centennial Hills areas, the weather service said.
If you thought it felt cold enough to snow today in Las Vegas, it appears you were right! Check out this video @JournalismSandy just sent us of snowflakes falling in the northwest valley! ❄️ ❄️ ❄️ #VegasWeather pic.twitter.com/SLzBtn0swl
— Las Vegas RJ (@reviewjournal) December 27, 2018
Meanwhile, strong breezes are expected to continue to sweep the valley for a couple of more days.
Gusty winds of up to 25 mph are expected to continue Friday before trailing off by Saturday afternoon.
Highs of 50 are expected on Friday and Saturday, while Sunday and Monday will reach 54 and 53, respectively, the weather service said. Tuesday has a forecast high of 51, and overnight lows are expected to dip into the lower 30s through Tuesday.
Wolf said those ringing in the new year in Las Vegas on Monday can expect a “dry but cold night” with light winds. It will be around 35 degrees approaching midnight on New Year’s Eve, although that forecast could change in the coming days “as we get a little closer” to the holiday, she said.
“It’s going to feel like winter,” Wolf added.