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Gaming Guru

Mary Manning
 

With snow on Mount Charleston, cold winds blast Las Vegas

15 April 2009

LAS VEGAS, Nevada -- The National Weather Service said 5 inches of snow were on the ground at the fire station on Mount Charleston and a foot of snow blanketed the Mount Charleston Lodge overnight.

Although there were reports of snow flurries and sleet in the Las Vegas Valley, from the Stratosphere Tower at Sahara Avenue and Las Vegas Boulevard South to Summerlin, April 15 is officially snowless, according to the weather service.

Unless snow falls at McCarran International Airport, where the weather service gathers its official climate records, seeing snow doesn't count, a meteorologist said today.

As a mass of cold air sat directly over Nevada this morning, it didn't take a weather forecaster to tell Las Vegas Valley residents and visitors that unseasonably cold weather had returned.

"Today will be a lovely January day in the middle of April," weather service forecasters said after measuring temperatures and winds at the airport this morning.

Those winds that gusted to 53 mph in the valley on Tuesday for the most part will blow from the northwest at 15 mph to 20 mph with gusts to 30 mph today. One 61 mph gust was recorded Tuesday at Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area, the weather service said.

The wintry blast is expected to keep Las Vegas 20 degrees or more below normal temperatures. While normal temperatures for this time of year range from 78 degrees in the daytime to 54 degrees at night, Las Vegas could tie or break the coldest temperatures recorded for Wednesday and overnight, forecasters said. The chilliest afternoon high temperature recorded on April 15 was set in 1998 at 56 degrees, and the record low of 39 degrees on April 16 was also set in 1998.

There is a 30 percent chance of showers in the valley today, with temperatures expected to reach only the upper 50s, forecasters said. The continued cold air mass overnight could drop temperatures into the upper 30s to low 40s, they said.

As the cold air begins to move east of Nevada, the best chance of snow accumulating is in Lincoln County, north of Las Vegas, and northwestern Arizona, as well as the Spring Mountains to the west, including Mount Charleston, and the Sheep Mountain range north of the valley, the weather service said. Where the air is coldest the snow level will drop to 3,000 feet, forecasters said.

Before the coldest air arrived on Tuesday, weather forecasters in Southern Nevada recorded thunderstorms mainly over Pahrump, 60 miles west of Las Vegas, and the Nevada Test Site, 65 miles northwest of the city. They also reported some sprinkles of rain and haze in the valley.

After Wednesday's winter display, north winds will persist on Thursday, allowing the valley to gradually warm up over the weekend until above-average temperatures arrive early next week. By Monday Las Vegas could record its first 90-degree day and Death Valley in Southern California could hit 100 degrees for the first time this year, both temperatures above normal in this wild weather ride.