Las Vegas flood tears up strip casinos and parking lots
Outside, lightning knocked out power to exterior lights at several downtown hotels, including the Golden Nugget. There were a lot of drops light fixtures at Caesars Palace, a shower inside Planet Hollywood and floodwaters that made the Linq Hotel parking lot look like a course of whitewater rapids. A player at the Fremont Hotel and Casino kept playing through the flood.
The Las Vegas Weather Service warned of wind gusts approaching 70 mph, urging Twitter followers to “Take cover now!” Las Vegas Fire and Rescue tweeted that he responded to 330 calls for service, mostly weather-related, and rescued seven people in whitewater.
Several intersections were flooded. The Las Vegas Review Log reported that more than 7,000 customers faced power cuts after 10 p.m.
Emi Gross, a burlesque showgirl street performer, was working on the Strip when the heavy rains started falling.
“It’s gone crazy,” said the 19-year-old. “I have never worked as a showgirl in such weather.”
After about half an hour of downpour, she says her bosses called her back to the office, a few miles down the Strip. “We reserved it for the car,” Gross said. “We were in the garage at the Venetian and we still had to put the wipers on because the rain was blowing sideways. We could barely see.
She said that on her way back to the office in the rain, the road was littered with broken down cars.
“I’ve lived in Vegas all my life and I’ve never seen anything like it before,” she said.
Betting activity was mostly back to normal by Friday morning, and casino executives were considering improvements needed to deal with future weather events.
The Fremont Street Experience display lit up as bodies flew on ziplines operated by Slotzilla. The sky was completely clear and cloudless. Workers set up music stages. The typical smell of cannabis permeated the unusually humid air.
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“We’re open for business,” said casino owner Derek Stevens, whose Circa complex had a sports betting video wall transformed into a shimmering fountain that spilled into a water-collecting pool on the carpeted lower level. .
A football match and golf tournament on screens in Circa had large areas blacked out due to damage, with a section of betting odds and game times pixelated beyond recognition. Workmen with tape measures circled the damaged areas of the cordoned-off pit and a 6-foot blower led a group of smaller blowers.
Instead of seeping into the desert, stormwater tends to accumulate in Las Vegas, which means relatively little precipitation can lead to flooding. Mayor Carolyn Goodman tweeted Friday to tout the “flood control infrastructure” that quickly brings water to Lake Mead.
Monsoon-triggered storms prompted the National Weather Service to issue severe thunderstorm and flash flood warnings Thursday night. Radar showed a narrow but intense swath of thunderstorms that swept through Vegas around 8:30 p.m. local time North.
Harry Reid International Airport received 0.32 inches of rain – about its average amount for all of July – while “a few pockets in the city picked up over an inch,” the weather service wrote.
Thursday marked the second night of monsoon storms in the city, with more expected in the southwest, according to the National Weather Service.
Nevada’s summer was marked by drought; Lake Mead water levels have reached their lowest point since 1937, according to NASAexposing three sets of human remains in the reservoir since May.
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Across the country, catastrophic flooding in eastern Kentucky has killed at least 16 people since Wednesday. Historic rainfall around St. Louis on Tuesday caused flash flooding that killed one person. Both showers are considered 1 in 1,000 year rainfall events.
Dan Michalski reported from Las Vegas. Jason Samenow and Gabe Hiatt reported from DC