Las Vegas snow is incredibly rare. However, forecasters are calling for one to three inches before the end of the week. The National Weather Service said Las Vegas and Reno are in the path of an arctic blast, which is expected to bring frigid temperatures and a possible dusting of snow.
The anticipated snow prompted the NWS to issue a winter storm watch for the Las Vegas Valley and surrounding region. As stated in the advisory, the storm will reach the western Mojave Desert on New Year’s Eve.
“Precipitation is expected to begin Tuesday afternoon into Tuesday nigh t… be steadiest and heaviest Wednesday morning into Wednesday evening… then taper off late Wednesday evening into New Year’s Day.”
Residents are urged to use caution. The NWS predicts “travel could be difficult… if not impossible,” specifically on grades, passes, and summits.
As the severity and impact of the Las Vegas snow “remains uncertain,” residents and visitors are advised to monitor the local forecast and “remain alert to changing weather conditions.”
According to Accuweather, the unusual cold streak is expected to last through Saturday. On Sunday, the predicted high will reach 49 degrees before falling to 36 degrees on Sunday night.
As Las Vegas is located in a generally warm and dry region, the area rarely experiences measurable snowfall. However, in December 2008, Las Vegas was blanketed in nearly four inches of snow. If this week’s predictions are correct, Las Vegas will see the first measurable snowfall in six years.
Although the temperatures are expected to dip below normal, the arctic blast will not break any records. The coldest recorded temperature in the Las Vegas Valley was 12 degrees in January 1974.
Historically, Las Vegas has experienced 15 snowstorms, with measurable snowfall, since the 1930s. In a majority of those storms, the region received fewer than four inches of snow.
As Las Vegas is located in the Mojave Desert, tourists usually expect warm temperatures and low humidity. This week, visitors may be in for an unpleasant surprise.
U.S. Climate Data explains Las Vegas’ average high temperature in December is 57 degrees, and the average low is 39. In stark contrast, the average high temperature in July is 104.
As reported by LasVegas.com, the region boasts “320 days of sunshine per year.” The visitor’s center suggests “t-shirts, shorts and athletic shoes are a common sight in the summer; long pants and a light jacket are recommended in winter.”
The predicted Las Vegas snow might leave residents and visitors out in the cold, as it very unusual for the region.
[Image via Las Vegas Weekly]