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Storms dump record rain in Las Vegas


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Storms dump record rain in Las Vegas

Wednesday, October 19, 2005; Posted: 12:48 p.m. EDT (16:48 GMT)




LAS VEGAS, Nevada (AP) -- Two days of rain broke Las Vegas' record for the entire month of October, overwhelming flood channels, swamping roadways and knocking out power.


Firefighters rescued several motorists from stalled vehicles Tuesday after they ignored warnings and tried to ford flooded intersections. Police and the Nevada Highway Patrol reported numerous crashes, including a parkway crash that critically injured one person.


The storm dropped 0.94 inches of rain Tuesday at McCarran International Airport, breaking a record of 0.45 inches for the same date set in 1962. The 1.42 inches of rain that fell Monday and Tuesday swamped the previous record of 1.22 inches for the entire month of October, set in 1992.


"In those two days, we got enough rain to break our record for the month," said Andy Bailey, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service office in Las Vegas. "Traditionally, October is a pretty dry month."


Clearing skies were forecast for Wednesday.


Leaks forced the closure of part of the new Clark County courthouse in downtown Las Vegas and some stores at a mall in Henderson.


"This is horrible," said Tracy Desmarets, who was reporting for jury duty when the north entrance to the 17-story Regional Justice Center was closed Tuesday. "They probably paid millions of dollars for this building, and it leaks."


A court official blamed a clogged rain gutter at the $185 million building, which opened just last week, more than three years behind schedule and completed at almost twice the projected cost.


In Southern California, the first major rainstorm of the fall left five people dead in road accidents beginning Monday. The rain slowly moved out of the region late Tuesday.


Officials blamed Las Vegas flooding on debris clogging intakes to some the region's network of 69 retention basins and 400 miles of channels, and said other projects were being built to protect neighborhoods that flooded Tuesday.


Electricity was restored late Tuesday to most of nearly 8,000 homes and businesses left without power, mostly in fast-developing neighborhoods in the northwest and southwest parts of the city.


One area lost power after a truck hit an electrical transformer, and another was left without electricity after a transformer was struck by lightning, Nevada Power spokesman Gabriel Romero said.



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