A regional storm passed through the Las Vegas Valley, Nevada, on December 28-29, 2004, producing up to 2 inches of rain in a 24-hour period. Due to the intense, sustained rainfall, streamflow along Las Vegas Wash was near the record discharges of July 8, 1999. Additional rainfall in December and in January, combined with an early warming trend, resulted in record flooding along Meadow Valley Wash, Muddy River, and Virgin River, January 10-11, 2005 (figs. 1 and 2). On January 7, this warming trend resulted in about a 15?F (degree Fahrenheit) increase over the previous week (fig. 2). This temperature spike, along with further precipitation, caused much of the snow pack in the surrounding mountain ranges to melt and run off into the valleys. These two factors led to the major flood events in Clark and Lincoln Counties during December 2004 and January 2005. Total flood and storm damage for Lincoln County was estimated at $9.4 million and $4.5 million for Clark County (Manning, 2005).
Clark County generally is drained by the Las Vegas and Meadow Valley Washes, and the Muddy and Virgin River systems. Las Vegas Valley is drained by Duck Creek, Tropicana Wash (not in fig. 1), Flamingo Wash, Las Vegas Wash, and several smaller tributaries (fig. 1). Water in these drainages generally flows eastward through Las Vegas to Las Vegas Wash and on toward Lake Mead, an impoundment of the Colorado River. The Virgin River originates in southern Utah, flows past Littlefield, AZ, through Mesquite, NV, and into the Overton Arm of Lake Mead. Meadow Valley Wash flows from Ursine, NV, through Caliente, NV, continues southeast through Moapa Valley, and into the Muddy River at Glendale, NV. The Muddy River flows southeast through Moapa Valley into the Overton Arm of Lake Mead (Kane and Wilson, 2000).
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USGS Numbered Series
Flooding in Clark and Lincoln Counties, Nevada, December 2004 and January 2005