Weather: Flash-flood watch issued for Pahrump Valley as significant rain is expected


The rains keep coming to the desert, this time to disrupt some people’s Presidents Day weekend plans.

The National Weather Service has issued a flash-flood watch in southern Nye County and eastern California due to the potential for heavy rainfall Friday, continuing until Saturday at 10 p.m.

Stan Czyzyk, weather service meteorologist, said the Pahrump Valley should expect an inch or more during the two days, with higher elevations to the east receiving up to 2 inches. Winds are projected to be between 14 mph to 16 mph.

A winter storm watch with potentially heavy winds has been issued for the same time for the Mountain Springs area, which is on State Route 160 between Pahrump and Las Vegas.

“A potent low-pressure system will pull an abundant amount of moisture across the Mojave Desert and southern Great Basin on Friday through Saturday evening,” according to the weather service alert. “Heavy rainfall will lead to increased threat of flash flooding of normally dry washes, low water crossings and poorly-drained intersections.”

Pahrump has seen 2.1 inches of rain already this year, nearly triple the normal average.

The areas under the alert include southern Nye County, western Clark County and Death Valley National Park.

Czyzyk said the national park should receive similar rainfall, which would be the heaviest this year. Death Valley has recorded 0.3 inches of precipitation in 2017, which is below its annual average.

The alert warns that “heavy rainfall may carry rocks, mud or other debris onto roadways.”

There is an 80 percent chance of rain Friday, dropping to 60 percent Friday evening. Rain is likely Saturday at 70 percent, tapering to a 50 percent chance Saturday evening. Sunday brings only a 20 percent chance of rain, with mostly sunny returning for Presidents Day on Monday.

The rainfall will bring a cooling effect to the area, with a high temperature of 58 degrees on Friday, and an overnight low of 46. Saturday will have a high of 55, low of 47.

Presidents Day on Monday should have partly cloudy skies with a high of 62 and a low of 45.

Czyzyk added that the weather models for next weekend’s Pahrump Balloon Festival show no rain and little if any wind.