Thunderstorms and rain showers hit the Las Vegas Valley Thursday causing roadway closures, and flight delays.
Thunderstorms have popped up over the mountains and there was plenty of moisture and energy to bring storms over the Valley. The storms are heat-driven, so storms popped up quickly in the afternoon.
A flash flood watch was in effect for the areas surrounding the Las Vegas Valley, it includes the local mountains, Pahrump Valley, Lincoln County, and Mohave County. The watch means conditions were favorable for flash flooding with the potential for storms to drop up to three inches of rain per hour.
Even though Las Vegas was not included in the watch, there was a potential for some heavy thunderstorms that lead to localized flash flooding. The chance is greater in the areas listed in the watch area.
Between 8 p.m. and 11 p.m., weather models were picking up on a cluster of storms moving in from the north out of Lincoln County.
While there is a potential for a storm from the cluster, the bigger impact would be strong wind gusts in the 40 mile per hour to 50 mile per hour range. Gusts in that range could bring sporadic power outages and localized damage. The wind direction was out of the north, so the north Valley could see gusts first.
The Nevada Department of Transportation announced the closure of southbound U.S. 95 at the College Drive exit due to extensive flooding at noon. Vehicles are stalled on the roadway as Nevada Highway Patrol directs traffic. NDOT said maintenance crews pumped three feet of standing water before 2 p.m. The freeway reopened at around 3:30 p.m. Thursday.
Officials at McCarran International Airport said the heavy storms are causing flight departure delays up to an hour and 30 minutes with the potential to increase.
Arriving flights are experiencing 15-minute airborne delays, according to the Federal Aviation Administration.
"Every 30 minutes it was a weather delay. 'Weather delay, weather delay, weather delay,'" Lisa Caplan said. Caplan had a two and a half hour delay for her flight from John Wayne Airport in Orange County, Ca. to Las Vegas. She said some of the other passengers didn't want to wait.
"Everybody was trying to get off the flights and book Ubers and team up to do $350 Lyfts from Orange County to Vegas," she said.
The National Weather Service was urging boaters at Lake Mead to leave the water and head to safety. A storm is developing east of Lake Mead's Boulder Basin and drifting westwards bringing winds up to 40 miles per hour, according to the NWS.
On Mt. Charleston, floodwaters washed away parts of Highway 158. Crews said the ground underneath the road, which connects Lee Canyon Road and Kyle Canyon Road, was completely eroded, leaving just the pavement and the guardrail behind.
Crews said the road would remain closed overnight as they try to repair it.
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