Las Vegas Sun

October 21, 2014

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Heavy snow seen usually once in 20 years

Snow On The Strip

Visitors and workers on the Las Vegas Strip experience snow throughout the day.

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Near the Strip, a skier enjoys one of the valley's few snows. A winter storm dumped 7.4 inches of snow on the valley floor on January 31, 1979. The next day, during his show at the Aladdin Hotel, comedian Gabe Kaplan quipped "Las Vegas has always been my favorite ski resort."

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Five-year-old Kathlene Meyers catches flakes during a rare winter snow in Las Vegas in 1930. The last big snowfall came on Jan. 31, 1979 when 7.4 inches accumulated. Normally standing snow only occurs near the valley's neighboring mountains.

National Weather Service records show that snowfall that sticks on the ground and piles up occurs about once every 20 years.

Most people envision sun and palm trees swaying in a gentle breeze when they dream about their Las Vegas vacations, but those arriving in Las Vegas between October and mid-April may be surprised to find snowflakes falling.

According to National Weather Service records, the most snowfall recorded in the Las Vegas Valley was 16.7 inches in January 1949, followed by January 1974 with 13.4 inches and January 1979 with 9.9 inches.

The earliest snow in the year ever recorded arrived on Nov. 15, 1964 when 3 inches fell, followed by another inch on Nov. 16, 1964.

The latest snow ever recorded for the winter season in the valley was a trace on April 4, 1958.

The last snowfall in the valley before this week was when a trace fell on Dec. 22, 2006 during a mixture of rain and snow. However, the Summerlin area got a few flakes of snow on Oct. 11 this year.

Measurable snow officially fell in Las Vegas on Dec. 30, 2003, with 1.3 inches on the ground, the weather service said.

Snow statistics through Jan. 31, 1996 were recorded at McCarran International Airport. Then the weather service moved its offices two miles southwest to Dean Martin Road and records have been measured there since Feb. 1, 1996.

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