September 12, 2012 in Nation/World

Storms cause floods in parts of Southwest

Ken Ritter Associated Press
Associated Press photo

University of Nevada, Las Vegas students Ryan Klorman, left, and Markus Adams relax on inflatable pool toys in floodwater in a parking lot at UNLV on Tuesday.
(Full-size photo)

LAS VEGAS – Intense thunderstorms drenched parts of the Southwest on Tuesday, delaying flights and stranding motorists in the Las Vegas area and flooding two mobile home parks in Southern California.

East of downtown Las Vegas, television news video showed yellow school buses inching slowly along swamped roads in some neighborhoods and muddy brown water up to the lower window sills of stucco homes in others.

A Twitter photo showed dozens of cars submerged in water up to their headlights in a parking lot outside a University of Nevada, Las Vegas sports arena.

After responding to numerous 911 calls, officials in Clark County, North Las Vegas, Henderson and Las Vegas said Tuesday there were no confirmed reports of serious injuries.

The National Weather Service issued severe thunderstorm and flash-flood warnings before and after almost an inch of rain was reported at McCarran International Airport just before 2 p.m. Departures were postponed and arrivals were delayed after the airport ordered a stop on fueling operations during lightning strikes, airport spokeswoman Linda Healey said.

National Weather Service meteorologist Michael Staudenmaier said more than 1.75 inches of rain was reported in downtown Las Vegas.

Firefighters responded to more than 20 calls about people in stalled cars, county spokesman Dan Kulin said.

National Weather Service meteorologist Scott Sukup said the Nevada showers weren’t part of the same storm system that doused parts of Southern California.

There, a thunderstorm that dropped more than the average annual rainfall on parts of the Coachella Valley in one night alone caused flooding at two mobile home parks, forced road closures and dampened a school, officials said Tuesday.

The early morning thunderstorm stalled for six to eight hours over Mecca and Thermal, two towns at the southern tip of the Coachella Valley 150 miles southeast of Los Angeles.

The storm dropped 5.51 inches of rain near Mecca and 3.23 inches of rain near Thermal, meteorologist Mark Moede said. The average annual rainfall in Thermal is just shy of 3 inches, he said.

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