Las Vegas was inundated with “heaving downpours” Thursday night as the city’s iconic strip flooded and water cascaded into casinos, according to videos shot by shocked bystanders.
The usually-arid city in the country’s driest state advised residents to look out for strong wind gusts, lightning and heavy rainfall around 9:30 p.m. Thursday. Over the next three hours, seven people were rescued from “swift water” conditions across the city, according to the city’s Fire Department. No fatalities from the flooding were reported.
Dramatic video shows rain pouring from light fixtures and vents onto slot machines at the famed Caesar’s Palace casino. Planet Hollywood Casino also took on water from its ceiling while more precipitation streamed into the Circa Resort & Casino through a digital screen, according to social media videos.
In another shot, a visiting vacationer looked on stunned as water ran like a river through the Linq Hotel’s parking lot, stopping him from reaching a public transit station.
“This is urban flooding in Las Vegas,” the man says on the video.
The massive flooding, which came with wind gusts around 70 mph, led to 22 car crashes, 15 outdoor fires and one house fire, according to the Fire Department. Numerous trees were downed during the storm. The department responded to the incidents from 9 p.m. to midnight.
Harry Reid International Airport in the city was hit with 0.32 inches of rain. More than a dozen flights faced delays as the storm pounded into Las Vegas.
The National Weather Service for Las Vegas warned residents to “stay alert” again Friday as more storms were expected to buffet the city in the afternoon and evening.
The unprecedented desert storm comes in a city that usually catches just under 0.4 inches of rainfall in the average month of July, according to the national weather service. The dry desert city averages only 4 inches of rain per year.
Parts of the city saw more than an inch in just the three-hour period Thursday night, according to the National Weather Service.
The storms, which began Wednesday and will continue through Friday night, come during the southwest’s monsoon season. The season extends from June to September, and some areas receive most of their rainfall for the year just in that period.