“We are entering the heart of the most active part,” said John Adair, a veteran meteorologist at the Weather Services office near Harry Reid International Airport in Las Vegas on Friday.
“It is turning out to be a very active monsoon season compared to the last five years. There is a lot more opportunity for thunderstorms to develop.”
The annual weather pattern has brought a parade of storms to the U.S. Southwest in recent weeks, causing normally dry washing, rain measured in inches, and flooding rescue operations.
A driver had to be rescued from a vehicle stuck in flood waters at Apache Junction in Arizona. A youth conservation team abandoned a red truck at Canyon de Chelly National Monument on the Navajo Nation after it got stuck in mud and water rose around it. Mohave County Sheriff’s officers rescued a woman who was stuck to a stop sign when her car was swept away earlier this week.
Adair said parts of the Hualapai Mountains in Mohave County received 6 inches (15.2 cm) of rain in recent days. The National Weather Service said parts of Arizona can expect 1 (2.5 centimeters) to 2 (5 centimeters) of rain per hour before the flood watch ends Saturday morning.
While rain is welcome in an area hit by drought, it creates a headache for neighborhoods where wildfires have stripped the land of vegetation, which normally slows and partially absorbs flood waters. .
governor of new mexico Michelle Lujan Grisham On Thursday, the Federal Emergency Management Agency requested the state’s disaster declaration to include the effects of floods and landslides in some of the counties hit by widespread wildfires this year.
In northern Arizona, Flagstaff residents have become accustomed to constant alerts on cell phones and sirens in neighborhoods warning of impending flooding.
Brett Heinemann estimates that there are about 3,500 sandbags around his home north of Flagstaff where two wildfires burned this spring. His wife was taking care of the children and two weeks ago when it rained heavily the back door was open and a few inches of rain and mud were sent through the house.
With every flood warning, they are now goosebumps.
“We still need rain and all that and we really need the monsoon here,” said Heinemann, who is staying with the family while his house dries up. “It’s just that wildfires have changed everything. So, yeah, when it rains, we’re in fear.”
Parts of Arizona, including Heber, Show Low, Belmont and Prescott, have so far received close to or more than 200 percent of normal rainfall during the monsoon, which begins June 15 through September. However, the weather patterns are hit-and-miss, meaning some places like Payson are far below normal.
“There isn’t really a good explanation for why this happens, but it is part of the nature of storms,” said Valerie MeolaA meteorologist with the Weather Service in Flagstaff.
Jacqueta Brown was walking a trail in Canyon de Chelly near Chinle, Arizona this week when it rained heavily and saw a red truck partially submerged. He said rain is a boon for the crops that families plant in the valley and livestock, but monsoon also comes with a downside.
“We have dirt roads here, and when we can’t cross the wash, we can’t go to work and school,” Brown said.
While only 0.3 inches (0.76 centimeters) of rain was recorded at the Las Vegas airport late Thursday, more than 1 inch (2.5 centimeters) of rain fell just 1 mile (1.6 kilometers) away at the University of Nevada in Las Vegas, Adair. he said.
Nearby wind gusts gusted up to 71 mph (114 kph) and trees were downed. Pea-sized hail fell from lightning streaks in suburban Henderson, where some areas received nearly 1 inch (2.5 cm) of rain.
Police, county and city officials and the weather service said no injuries or widespread damage were reported.
Casino patrons posted videos of water falling from rooftops at Caesars Palace and Planet Hollywood Resorts on the Las Vegas Strip and from behind a giant video display at the city’s Circa Hotel-Casino Sports Book. A video shows a man gambling at a casino slot machine while water is falling around him.
“A Night We’ll Never Forget,” Almost Owner Dereki stevens said in a Twitter post.
“Last night’s weather took Vegas by storm and we were no exception,” Stevens said Friday. “But the show should go on and I’m happy to report that repairs are underway.”
The roped-off sports book seats are expected to reopen during the weekend, he said.
Rapid runoff from the intersections of lots of sun-soaked streets, prompting vehicles to crawl through the high water near Las Vegas Boulevard and Main Street. Flood control channels turned towards strong currents. Scattered power outages were reported in locations including the downtown Fremont Street Experience Casino pedestrian mall.
Las Vegas City spokesman Jess Radke said firefighters answered 330 calls and high water teams rescued seven people between 9 p.m. and midnight. Clark County Firefighters Respond to Six Water Rescue Calls, County Spokesperson Stacy Welling Told.
Adair said the Las Vegas area typically receives about 4.2 inches (10.7 centimeters) of rain per year, but the official measurement station at the airport recorded less than 0.7 inches (1.8 centimeters) in 2022.
The area’s drought-stricken water supply – the Lake Mead Reservoir behind Hoover Dam on the Colorado River – has been reduced by more than 30 percent of its surface level.
Adair said water from storms in the Las Vegas area will reach the lake, but monsoon moisture is unlikely to affect the ongoing regional drought.
“For that, we generally rely on the winter season, where we get many Pacific storms and cover a wide area with rain and snow,” the meteorologist said. “It can have a significant impact on drought.”