LAS VEGAS – A rare pre-winter storm brought Las Vegas its heaviest snowfall in nearly three decades, closing the airport and freeways as several inches coated marquees on the Las Vegas Strip and weighed down palm trees.
Flights resumed in and out of Las Vegas Thursday after the snow caused them to be canceled a day earlier. Schools and highways on Thursday were closed by the storm, which also dumped snow on rain on much of southern California and parts of Nevada outside Las Vegas.
The National Weather Service measured 3.6 inches of snow overnight at Las Vegas' McCarran International Airport, and meteorologist Jerome Jacques said about 2 inches was left before dawn on the ground near the "Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas" sign. Visitors parked and posed for pictures wearing hooded jackets.
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"Snow is not unknown in the Las Vegas valley. On average we get 1/2 inch of snow a year," Jacques said. "But this amount made it a significant storm. We haven't had this amount of snow since 1979."
The weather service recorded 7.5 inches of snow at McCarran on Jan. 30-31, 1979.
Other parts of Nevada were forecast to receive as much as 8 inches of snow in the second winter storm this week to drop snow on the desert city. Snowfall is common in nearby mountains hills, but not on the Strip or surrounding neighborhoods.