Yesterday – Mother Nature decided that she wanted something different to start the new year. So she dumped 1.3 inches of rain on the Las Vegas Valley! Making this the wettest January on record and making a mess of the valley while creating another spectacular river through the Linq Resort parking garage.
This was an interesting way to start the opening day of the CES Convention. The consumer technology convention is the largest convention held in Las Vegas and this is what greeted the attendees on opening day!
Happens Every Time
The Linq started out as the Imperial Palace and was built on top of the Flamingo Wash area. The lowest point on the Las Vegas Strip and the Clark County flood channel is behind the parking garage. So when it rains, all that water running down the Strip find its way into the garage before entering the channel. The water, mixed with the waters of the rest of the flood channels around Clark County, eventually runs into Lake Mead.
So this is nothing new and is a popular place to get video of the floods. The black lines on the poles indicate the high watermarks of previous floods. The metal wall seen in the beginning are lock and dam style walls they slide into place to prevent the water from entering the hotel structures.
The hotel was built for this and no damage is done to the resort. The driveway reopens shortly after the rains stop and they clean up the mess left by the rushing waters!
The larger problem around Las Vegas that turns driving during a rainstorm, is that most of the Valley sits on a crust of Caliche, a natural cement rock material that makes water absorption almost impossible and since we only get rain a few days a year, we tend to build the roads to the curvature of the earth. Drivers here forget or have never noticed the dips in the roads until it rains and they try to drive through them. Only to learn their car doesn’t float and they get stranded.
So we get a lot of road closures and the local news is filled with stories, videos, and photos of rescues of drivers ignoring the signs and overhead freeway displays warning of impending floods, standing on top of their sunken vehicles in the middle of a flooded intersection, waiting for a rescue. Not to mention that the rainwater cools the pavement and draws the oil out of the asphalt. Creating a desert version of what we former snow dwellers call “Black Ice” the roadway is like a sheet of ice you can’t really see until you are on top of it spinning out of control.
I know, slowing down your speed during a rainstorm would help, but drivers around here don’t know how to do that! Besides, what fun would that be?