Friday, Jan. 7, 2005 | 11:21 a.m.
A storm system nicknamed "the Pineapple Express" rolled into the Las Vegas Valley this morning and delivered a load of moisture expected to continue through the weekend, a National Weather Service spokesman said.
Light rain had already been reported by 10 a.m. at McCarran International Airport and the storm also brought a trace of snow to the valley this morning, as residents in west Las Vegas reported light snow falling in the area and light snowfall was also reported in Pahrump. A light dusting was also reported in Henderson.
The snow was unlikely to stay, Brian Fuis, a weather service spokesman said, predicting it would turn to rain and sleet this afternoon.
"It's pretty much melting as it falls," he said. "There may be some light accumulation in the grass."
The storm system, which pummelled the San Francisco Bay Area on Thursday night, continued into Bishop, Calif., where it brought nearly white-out conditions early this morning, Fuis said.
Valley residents can count on the system, which brings moisture from Hawaii, to drop up to two inches of rain on them by Monday, Fuis said.
The storm began drenching Pahrump and Needles, Calif., about 7:30 this morning he said.
"We're getting the first wave now," Fuis said.
Temperatures in the valley are also expected to stay cool this weekend but will probably not drop below freezing, he said. Highs this weekend will likely range from the upper 30s to the lower 40s.
Meanwhile the storms have prompted a weather service storm warning for the Spring Mountains west of Las Vegas and the Sheep Range north of the valley from 10 a.m. until 10 p.m. today.
Weather forecasters expect snow to accumulate above 5,000 feet in the mountains
But snow was reported on the valley floor this morning.
Neva Wright, the finance director for Orion Engineering and Surveying in Las Vegas, said snow had begun to accumulate outside her office near Smoke Ranch Road and Tenaya Way in northwest Las Vegas.
By 10 a.m. it had nearly covered a construction site across from her office and had turned a dark-colored car parked outside white, Wright said.
By Saturday night, the storm is expected to have dropped almost two feet of fresh snow on Mount Charleston. This morning there was already about two and a half feet of packed snow on the mountain.
These storms will be the latest in a string that white-peaked the mountains and soaked the valley in past weeks. Rain on the Monday after New Year's weekend caused spot flooding throughout the valley.
Meanwhile AAA has used the coming storm to remind motorists to slow down on rain-soaked roads.
The group advises drivers to avoid hydroplaning by watching for standing water, raindrops bubbling on the road and a "sloshing" sound coming from a vehicle's tires. Drivers are also cautioned to slow down and avoid hard breaking in the rain, noting that wet weather can make stopping more difficult.
Last weekend's rain was responsible for at least 20 traffic collisions in the valley, according to the Nevada Highway Patrol.