LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — Las Vegas residents have known virtually nothing but dry conditions for years, but that could change in a dramatic way with monsoon-driven thunderstorms and downpour chances coming into play this week.
Over the course of more than three decades, the Clark County Regional Flood Control District has spent more than $1 billion on flood control infrastructure in the valley but say their workers have only covered 75% of the valley and street flooding can get dangerous fast.
Erin Neff, RFCD public information manager, said flash flooding can affect every portion of Clark County in a matter of minutes and water can flow up to 30 miles an hour on surface streets.
She says that flooding would be powerful enough to carry cars and just six inches of moving water can sweep a person off of their feet.
Neff warns people to pay attention to the skies, listen for nearby thunder, and be aware of the potential of floods even if it isn't raining at your neighborhood.
She says flash flooding uphill can catch many people off guard as it flows down toward Lake Mead.
And more dangerous than surface street flooding is flooding in the miles of washes spanning the valley.
Neff doesn't mince words in warning people to stay away from attempting to swim in a flowing wash.
"The water in those flood channels does not discriminate between a rock and a human. It will throw you against a concrete wall. You will be dead in an instant. Stay out of the channels," Neff said.
She continued to say people can help the RFCD control flood waters by clearing trash from streets and calling the district at 702-685-0000 if someone notices a clogged storm drain that needs cleared.
The district has also established several useful tools for people to be aware and prepare for flooding events on its website.