Record Rainfall Hits Vegas, 15 Dead in South Carolina's Historic Flooding
As South Carolina faces the aftermath of its historic flooding, Las Vegas, Nevada got rocked by its own intense flooding. "Strong thunderstorms with high rainfall rates moved through Las Vegas on Monday evening, causing flash flooding in the Valley," says the Washington Post. "Roads and parking garages were swiftly filled with rushing water as the storms passed over."
"Cars became stranded as roadways quickly filled with water," reports CBS Las Vegas.
“Throughout the day, it's been pretty much bananas,” Las Vegas Fire and Rescue Battalion Chief Jon Stevenson told Las Vegas Now. “We've had swift water rescues; obviously the traffic accidents that take place because people have a tough time driving on wet roads; but in addition to that, we run the regular medical calls, and that, by itself, can keep us busy. Add to the fact that we've had these smoke and odor investigations; some of them might have been caused by lightning strikes, but that will be determined at a later date. That's just a really common phenomenon.”
The view from my car window in #Vegas right now. The city is flooded! http://t.co/jK4npULV0i— Mike Doria (@Mike Doria)1444102258.0
Lightning, hail and heavy rain were reported throughout the day in the Las Vegas Valley and surrounding areas, according to the Las Vegas Sun. The downpour brought 0.62 inches of rain on Monday (measured at McCarran International Airport), beating the previous record of 0.31 inch in a 24-hour period set in 2006, according to the National Weather Service. Though this is far less than the more than two feet of rain that has submerged parts of South Carolina, Las Vegas often doesn't even see that much rain in an entire month, so the rainfall is very significant for the area.
Rainbow near Tropicana/Flamingo in #Vegas http://t.co/baKcxSMgBd— Mike Doria (@Mike Doria)1444103638.0
Footage posted by Colin Johnson shows heavy flooding near the LINQ Hotel & Casino on the Las Vegas Strip:
Meanwhile, the death toll from the flooding in South Carolina rose to 15 on Tuesday, according to Reuters, as more than two feet of rain has inundated parts of the state since Friday. "Residents braced for more evacuations in areas near dams and swollen waterways across the state," says Reuters.
So far, 11 dams have failed and 300 state-maintained roads and 160 bridges remain closed.
Though the floodwaters have begun to recede in places, officials have warned residents to be careful. "We are still in the mode that the next 36 to 48 hours will be volatile," Gov. Haley told a news conference. "Don't let the sunshine fool you."
The state is now bracing for a second round of flooding as rivers crest above flood stage, and about 1,000 residents were told to evacuate this morning near the compromised Beaver Dam.
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California is bracing for rare January wildfires this week amid damaging Santa Ana winds coupled with unusually hot and dry winter weather.
High winds, gusting up to 80- to 90 miles per hour in some parts of the state, are expected to last through Wednesday evening. Nearly the entire state has been in a drought for months, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor, which, alongside summerlike temperatures, has left vegetation dry and flammable.
Utilities Southern California Edison and PG&E, which serves the central and northern portions of the state, warned it may preemptively shut off power to hundreds of thousands of customers to reduce the risk of electrical fires sparked by trees and branches falling on live power lines. The rare January fire conditions come on the heels of the worst wildfire season ever recorded in California, as climate change exacerbates the factors causing fires to be more frequent and severe.
California is also experiencing the most severe surge of COVID-19 cases since the beginning of the pandemic, with hospitals and ICUs over capacity and a stay-at-home order in place. Wildfire smoke can increase the risk of adverse health effects due to COVID, and evacuations forcing people to crowd into shelters could further spread the virus.
As reported by AccuWeather:
In the atmosphere, air flows from high to low pressure. The setup into Wednesday is like having two giant atmospheric fans working as a team with one pulling and the other pushing the air in the same direction.
Normally, mountains to the north and east of Los Angeles would protect the downtown which sits in a basin. However, with the assistance of the offshore storm, there will be areas of gusty winds even in the L.A. Basin. The winds may get strong enough in parts of the basin to break tree limbs and lead to sporadic power outages and sparks that could ignite fires.
"Typically, Santa Ana winds stay out of downtown Los Angeles and the L.A. Basin, but this time, conditions may set up just right to bring 30- to 40-mph wind gusts even in those typically calm condition areas," said AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Mike Doll.
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As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to keep most of Europe on pause, the EU aims for a breakthrough in its space program. The continent is seeking more than just a self-sufficient space industry competitive with China and the U.S.; the industry must also fit into the European Green Deal.
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