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

Convicted animal abuser to return to B.C. court May 21

Catherine Jessica Adams is facing a breach of probation charge

First Terrace Speedway race day of the year

The annual Mother’s Day Season Opening Races brought in crowds

Concerns over democracy as Senate committee votes to nix oil tanker ban

Critics of the Senate’s recommendation to kill Bill C-48 say it goes against popular will

Northwest Fire Centre open burn ban lifted

Recent rain, cooler temperatures have lowered the region’s fire risk

Telkwa pot plant application passes review

Cannabis company claims new Health Canada regulations are working in its favour

Kelowna RCMP interrogation video brings home reality in ‘visceral way’: former TRC chairman

Video of Mountie interrogating young Indigenous woman disclosing sexual abuse under fire

Canadian killed in Honduras plane crash

The crash happened in the Roatan Islands area, according to officials

B.C. ferry stops to let black bear swim past near Nanaimo

Queen of Oak Bay brakes for wildlife in Nanaimo’s Departure Bay

Mother dead, child in critical condition after carbon monoxide poisoning at Shuswap campground

The woman was found unresponsive insider her tent and the youth was taken via air ambulance to hospital

Canada’s parole officers say correctional system has reached breaking point

About half of Canada’s federal parole officers work inside penitentiaries and correctional institutions

Montreal researchers create audible hockey puck for visually impaired players

Three years ago, Gilles Ouellet came up with the idea for a puck that makes a continuous sound

Former B.C. Greyhound bus drivers head to Penticton for goodbye party

Big bash runs until Sunday, funded by drink cans left behind on busses over the years

Boy, 12, arrested after allegedly pulling a knife on another child at a Surrey park

The child was later released into his parents’ custody as Surrey RCMP continue their investigation

Full-scale search underway for missing kayaker on Okanagan Lake

Kelowna Paddle Centre member Zygmunt Janiewicz, 71, failed to return from his ‘daily kayak’ on the lake

Most Read