Snowman pops up on Vegas Strip as city sees rare winter weather

Authorities closed sections of main routes outside the city due to poor weather conditions

Snow falls on the Luxor hotel and casino Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2019, in Las Vegas. A winter storm is expected to drop up to 3 inches (8 centimeters) of snow on Las Vegas’ southern and western outskirts while other parts of the metro area will get rain mixed with snow. (AP Photo/John Locher)

Winter storms in the U.S. Southwest brought rare snowfall Thursday to the Las Vegas Strip, dusting casino marquees and prompting revelers to erect a snowman near the famous “Welcome to Las Vegas” sign.

The National Weather Service reported the first significant snowfall at McCarran International Airport in a decade with two centimetres falling by Thursday afternoon.

READ MORE: Kelowna determined to enjoy the snow

“We expected cold, but not snow,” tourist Lila de Guerrero said after taking a photo at the Las Vegas sign wearing a puffer coat and hat.

De Guerrero, who is visiting from El Salvador, said it was the first time she had ever seen snow.

German tourist Daniela Huber said she was surprised that her vacation to the desert wasn’t much of an escape from winter.

“We thought it was strange because we came from Germany, where it snows all the time,” she said.

Some suburban foothill areas near Las Vegas were pillowy white after getting several inches of snow. On the casino-lined Las Vegas Strip, the snow was fleeting, melting faster than a bad gamblers’ luck.

Outside the city, authorities closed portions of the main routes from Las Vegas to Los Angeles and Phoenix because of snow, ice and limited visibility.

About 50 miles of Interstate 15 closed from Primm, Nevada, to Baker, California.

The Nevada Department of Transportation reported a 22-mile line of cars and trucks backed up on U.S. 93 between Boulder City, Nevada, and Kingman, Arizona.

Snowstorms also blanketed other parts of the Southwest, further easing drought conditions while clogging traffic in California, and forcing the closure of Interstate 40 and an airport in Flagstaff, Arizona.

Barney Helmick, director of the Flagstaff Pulliam Airport, said its only runway closed when the visibility level hit zero. Intense snow also forced the closure of schools and businesses in the region.

Snow coated large areas of the desert outside Los Angeles and left traffic stalled near Joshua Tree National Park. Wet weather this winter has almost washed drought conditions out of California, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor.

In Nevada, snow delayed flights at McCarran airport and traffic on highways.

“We don’t have snowplows,” airport spokeswoman Christine Crews said as she tallied about 100 flight cancellations because of snow and ice. “But we have airfield maintenance vehicles and sweepers ready to go.”

Some flight delays reached more than two hours, the Federal Aviation Administration said.

The Associated Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

“It’s something you’re called to do”: Cullen reflects on time as MP

For Nathan Cullen, it’s not goodbye, it’s farewell.

Local artist Sesyaz Saunders’ art on display at YVR

Saunders worked with renowned artist Robert Davidson on a large panel

Mother dog, 9 puppies dumped in sealed box at Puntzi Lake landfill: SPCA

Puppies will be available for adoption at seven weeks old

B.C. government provides $100,000 to CCCTA for emergency preparedness

The marketing organizations will use this funding to create a common set of communications tools

10 facts about Father’s Day

Did you know that the special day for dads was first celebrated in 1910?

Bombers down B.C. Lions 33-23 in season opener

Former Lion Andrew Harris leads Winnipeg with 148 rushing yards

Northern B.C. family remembers murdered Indigenous woman with memorial walk

Still no closure for Ramona Wilson’s family 25 years later

B.C. university to offer mentorship program for former youth in care

Students using the provincial tuition waiver program will soon be able to form a community at KPU

Cyclists competing in one of the toughest bike races on the planet pass through Fernie

Divide riders looking strong as they finish first leg of 4160 km race

You might not know these B.C. records are public

Hired a lawyer to file a civil claim? Those are published online

B.C. bus driver loses case to get job back after texting while driving full bus

An arbitator ruled that Tim Wesman’s phone usage was a “a reckless disregard for public safety”

B.C. Interior First Nation family ‘heartbroken’ over loss of young mom

RCMP have released no new information since the June 8, 2019 homicide

Revamped B.C. Lions set to battle veteran Winnipeg Blue Bombers

The Lions’ first test of the season will be a big one

Most Read