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Monsoon 2019 begins in Southern Nevada

Posted: 11:11 PM, Jun 15, 2019
Updated: 2019-07-19 16:48:25-04

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — National Weather Service workers launched a weather balloon Saturday, as they do every day, twice a day, to measure atmospheric conditions on the first day of the 2019 monsoon.

The sky was bright and the day hot, but that could change from moment to moment during monsoon, so NWS Meteorologist Andrew Gorelow has kept an annual close eye on weather projections.

"We tell people, just prepare for the flooding," Gorelow said. "That's our main concern around here. High winds, micro-bursts, lightning."

The monsoon season sees scorching Las Vegas temperatures mix with moisture from The Gulf of Mexico producing pop-up storms all over town that dump torrential rain.

"It doesn't take a lot of rain to get flooding," Gorelow said.

He said moving water is the most critical part of these storms, a person can be swept away in as little as six inches of rushing water, and flash floods can build into a wall of water rushing through washes, gullies, and streets.

Guillaume Vallet said his northwest Las Vegas neighborhood sees around three flood bearing storms a year during Monsoon Season.

"It can get out of hand," Vallet said. "I know around the neighborhoods where we've had big floods happening, especially from the mountains."

Vallet said a break from the heat could be welcome in the middle of summer, but the risk of a washout isn't one he takes lightly."

"We know, when it happens, we usually stay inside, and it's time to look at the thunder and rain from inside," he said.

Gorelow said although extensive flood control work in Las Vegas, every section of the city is still susceptible to sudden and dangerous flooding.

He said staying informed about weather patterns from local media outlets is critical for people to react quickly until the season ends September 30.

"Stay prepared," Gorelow said. "That's all you can do."