Las Vegas Sun

December 18, 2014

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Snow keeps people in, and out of, Boulder City

Road closures strand some drivers for four hours

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Cassie Tomlin

Dayna Pullen slides down the remaining snow on the Bureau of Reclamation’s lawn in Boulder City today. Pushed by her brother, Tyler Pullen, and caught by her brother, Alex Martincek, Dayna was enjoying a day off from Elton Garrett Middle School. Clark County School District called a snow day for the first time since 1979.

After the snow

Ed Owens, left on grader, cleared the way to Anthem. Also on the machine is Clint Hall. At bottom, from left, are fellow city workers Darwin Barton, Ryan Minehan, Kurt Launch slideshow »

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During the Las Vegas Valley's heaviest snow in 30 years, some were stuck in Boulder City to enjoy it while others waited in cars Interstate 515 battling their way back in.

Faint flakes started falling just before 11 a.m., and accumulated enough to break trees, close the freeway and let kids off school Thursday.

Highway traffic crawled Interstate 515 from Railroad Pass past Horizon Drive in Henderson for most of the afternoon and evening, stalling completely for at least an hour and a half.

About 8:30 p.m., city crews shut down U.S. 93 at Veterans Memorial Drive, Scott Hansen, the city's public works director, said.

Crews cleared the roads and about 10:30 p.m. opened the northbound lane to southbound traffic needing to get back to Boulder City, Hansen said. Soft snow fell until about midnight.

Hansen, Fire Chief Kevin Nicholson and Deputy Police Chief John Chase manned an emergency operation center in the police station basement until about 2 a.m., Nicholson said.

Chief Thomas Finn was in the field.

Each with a laptop, a map, a cell phone in one hand and a radio in the other, the officials coordinated street clearing and paramedics response. There were no car crashes during the snowy day, but a few slips and falls, none resulting in serious injuries, Nicholson said.

He said he doesn't expect icy roads tonight, because the sun is shining.

But on an evening some were happy to make front yard snowmen or sit by living room fires, Jerry Jackson spent it angrily waiting in traffic at Railroad Pass for four hours.

Jackson and his wife, Patsy, left a medical clinic on West Charleston Boulevard in Las Vegas about 4:15 p.m.

The two didn't make it home to Boulder City until 11:30 p.m., and had to call for paramedic help while stuck in traffic to get refrigeration for medicine, Jerry Jackson said.

"You should give people an escape route, not just make them sit there," he said.

Jackson the road just began moving when he'd considered giving up and staying at Railroad Pass for the night.

This morning, cars and tractor-trailers still lined the bend at Railroad Pass, and high school students dined at the Coffee Cup.

Rachel Moody, a junior, and Karlee Koopman, a freshman, said they'd found out on Myspace that Clark County School District had given all schools the day off.

The two slept in and said they had no big plans for the free Thursday, but would "play it by ear."

"I wouldn't have gone anyway," Moody said.

Cassie Tomlin can be reached at 948-2073 or [email protected].

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