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Flash flood watch continues in Las Vegas

By Martin Griffith

Associated Press

LAST UPDATED: 7:30 p.m. HST, Jul 20, 2013

Some 2,000 people were without power Saturday afternoon around Las Vegas, a day after an intense thunderstorm toppled utility lines and trees, brought flooding to parts of the Strip, prompted the evacuation of a condominium complex and sparked a house fire.

National Weather Service forecasters said the Las Vegas area could be in for more of the same as a flash flood watch remained in effect for Sunday afternoon through Monday.

Friday night's storm produced 741 lightning strikes around Sin City as well as 0.22 inches of rain at its main weather station to break the previous record of 0.17 inches for the date set in 1951.

NV Energy spokeswoman Kelley Mulroy said 33,000 people were without power for varying lengths of time Friday night, and there was no estimated time for when power would be restored to all customers.

Michelle Knoll, spokeswoman for the Treasure Island on the Strip, said the resort's Western-themed Gilley's Bar was closed after water poured through openings in the ceiling caused by the storm.

"We had several bad leaks on the dance floor," she said.

The Clark County Fire Department assisted motorists who stalled in water on roads east of the Strip, and there were numerous other calls for help due to downed wires and fallen trees.

Las Vegas fire and rescue spokesman Tim Szymanski said one of the hardest hit places was the Atrium Garden Condo complex, where about 50 people were evacuated after underground natural gas lines were severed as trees were uprooted. Downed trees damaged 12 of 300 units there, he added.

In Henderson, a lightning strike caused a house fire that caused about $5,000 in damage Friday night, Fire Battalion Chief Scott Satterlee said. Firefighters arrived to find smoke coming from the roof, but quickly put out the blaze.

Fire officials said they were relieved that the rain entirely missed the Carpenter 1 Fire area on Mount Charleston, 25 miles northeast of Las Vegas.

The 20-day-old, lightning-caused wildfire that has charred 28,000 acres makes the area more susceptible to flash floods, they said. The area has a 50 percent to 60 percent chance of a wet thunderstorm through Tuesday. The fire was 95 percent contained Saturday.

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