Updated February 21, 2019 - 4:21 am
When snow happens in Las Vegas, it rarely stays in Las Vegas.
But on Wednesday night parts of the valley saw a few inches of snow sticking to the ground during the second dusting of ice this week.
By about 9 p.m., up to 2 inches of snow had accumulated in parts of the western valley, National Weather Service meteorologist Andy Gorelow said, while flurries have been reported in most of the valley.
“It’s too warm for it to stick, especially around the Strip,” Gorelow said about the snow in the central and eastern valley.
Light snow was reported at McCarran International Airport, where the national weather service is stationed, but it didn’t stuck to the ground, Gorelow said. The last time there was measurable snow at the airport was in December 2008, when 3.6 inches accumulated.
The reports of snow started at about 3 p.m. Wednesday from the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area, three hours before a winter weather advisory went into effect for the valley.
“A lot of the valley has seen some snow,” Gorelow said Wednesday night. “That’s where the accumulations really are, just west of the (Interstate) 15.”
Up to an inch of snow was reported in Henderson near Seven Hills, south of Eastern Avenue and St. Rose Parkway, the weather service said.
A winter weather advisory for the valley is in effect until 4 a.m. Friday. Mount Charleston will be under a winter storm warning during that period and could receive 12 to 18 inches of snow, Gorelow said. Reports from Mount Charleston on Wednesday showed about 7 inches by 6 p.m.
Red Rock Canyon could have 4 inches to 6 inches of snow during the storm, Gorelow said.
The low for the valley will be around 35 degrees at the airport Wednesday night, he said. By 9 p.m. temperatures were less than 35 in the west valley, around 37 in the east valley and nearing 32 near Henderson.
The snow could cause dangerous driving conditions in the valley, and state Route 160 was closed in both directions between Las Vegas and Pahrump because of heavy snowfall, the Nevada Highway Patrol tweeted Wednesday night. It was unclear when the road would reopen.
About 2,600 NV Energy customers were without power Wednesday night due to damage to equipment, according to the company’s website. As of 11 p.m., the largest outages were in zip code 89002 in southern Henderson, as well as zip code 89121 in the east valley.
The outage in Henderson was effecting about 1,400 customers and was estimated to be fixed by 12:30 a.m. Thursday, according to NV Energy’s website. The outage in the east valley was effecting about 1,100 customers, and it was unclear when power was expected to be restored.
More precipitation ahead
Gorelow said those in the valley should “expect on and off” precipitation all night long.
“It’ll be kind of like snow in the morning, and some places will probably change to rain as we warm up a bit,” he said. “It’s not going to be a full moderate to heavy snow continuously.”
There is a 7o percent chance for precipitation in the valley through Thursday afternoon, the weather service said. Rain and snow chances will drop to about 50 percent Thursday evening and down to 22 percent overnight, Varian said.
Thursday’s forecast high is 45 degrees. The cooler temperatures mixed with precipitation could lead to potentially hazardous road conditions.
“Even if we get a mix of rain and snow, overnight it could refreeze,” Steele said. “Roads that may have been wet could be icy, and that’s worse than snowpack.”
The normal high for this time of year is about 64 degrees, the weather service said.
The weather service measured a low of 32 degrees at McCarran International Airport overnight Tuesday, the fourth time this winter it’s reached freezing. That only happened once last year.
This February has been the coldest in the valley since 2004, Gorelow said.
Temperatures near Kyle Canyon in the Spring Mountains are expected to drop to 12 degrees overnight Wednesday with an 90 percent chance of snow showers, according to the weather service. The high there will be about 15 on Thursday, and precipitation chances will drop to 60 percent Thursday night.
The Clark County School District tweeted Wednesday afternoon that it would announce by 5 a.m. Thursday — on ccsd.net and its social media pages — whether schools would be affected by inclement weather.
Nellis Air Force Base will be closed Thursday due to the weather, spokeswoman Rebekah Mattes said. Only employees in “mission essential roles” should report to work.
Staying safe during the storm
Las Vegas has opened up a warming station during the advisory, city spokesman Jace Radke said. The Salvation Army, 35 W. Owens Ave., will be open until 6 a.m. Thursday and from 6 p.m. Thursday to 6 a.m. Friday, for those seeking shelter.
The Courtyard Homeless Resource Center, 314 Foremaster Lane, will continue to be open 24 hours as well, Radke said.
The Las Vegas and Clark County fire departments urged residents to exercise care when dealing with the cold. The departments said people should only let pets outside for a short time. Cold pavement could cause frostbite to pets’ paws, and animals should “be treated the same as when it is extremely hot in the summer,” the departments said in a release.
The departments urged residents to keep electric space heaters at least 3 feet from anything flammable such as mattresses, curtains, clothing and furniture. Never leave space heaters unattended.
Do not use an oven, stove or barbecue inside to heat a home, as they can release deadly carbon monoxide, an odorless, poisonous gas. Any device that uses natural gas, propane gas, wood, charcoal or other fuels that produce a flame also produce carbon monoxide, the departments said.
Tips for black ice
The Nevada Department of Transportation offers these tips on what to do if you encounter black ice while driving:
— Don’t panic or overreact.
— Allow the vehicle to pass over the ice and avoid abruptly hitting the brakes.
— Try to keep the steering wheel straight.
— If your vehicle begins to fishtail or slide, gently turn the wheel in the direction of the skid and slowly remove foot from accelerator.