Winds could make Las Vegas New Year’s Eve fireworks dicey

Suzie Gray, 50, left, and Steve Walker of Las Vegas watch fireworks on the Las Vegas Strip during the first minutes of New Year’s Day, Jan. 1, 2018. (Joel Angel Juarez/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @jajuarezphoto

Temperatures in the Las Vegas Valley will be cooler than normal for New Year’s Eve, and sustained winds of between 10-15 mph could threaten midnight fireworks displays, according to the National Weather Service.

The temperatures about midnight should be 36 or 37 degrees near Downtown and on the Strip, weather service meteorologist Caleb Steele said. Factoring in wind chill, those temperatures could feel to as low as 26 degrees, he said.

While it will be chilly, the overnight low of 33 will be well above the record low temperature for New Year’s Eve in the Las Vegas Valley, which was 21 degrees recorded on Dec. 31, 1954.

“A few flakes” of snow fell between 6 and 10 a.m. Monday at the edges of the valley, including in Summerlin and Henderson, Steele said.

The service forecasts a high temperature of 49 degrees Monday, with winds kicking up and clouds moving out late in the morning. The winds, which will gust as high as 25 mph, are expected to continue through Tuesday, Steele said.

New Year’s Eve fireworks show organizers on Friday said that sustained winds over 10 mph could cause rooftop fireworks displays on the Strip to be delayed or canceled, but that winds have never been a deal-breaker in the past.

“We have never had to cancel a New Year’s Eve fireworks celebration in our 19 years of doing this,” Clark County spokesman Erik Pappa said Monday morning.

The county will closely monitor wind speeds leading up to midnight and, if it is too windy at that time there will be a one-hour window during which the fireworks can be set off, Pappa said.

“In the unlikely event that we have to cancel, we will make public notifications via social media, the news media and hotel marquees,” Pappa said.

Meanwhile, the weather service also reported snowfall about 8:30 a.m. Monday in the Spring Mountains, on Highway 160 near Mountain Springs and on Interstate 15 on Mountain Pass south of Barstow, California, where elevations are about 5,000 feet. Steele said the snow wasn’t expected to stick around.

Heads up if traveling south/west out of Vegas! Snow falling and sticking around Mountain Pass on I-15, and Mountain Springs on NV-160! Take it slow in ice and snow! #NVwx #CAwx

— NWS Las Vegas (@NWSVegas) December 31, 2018

”We’re not expecting much accumulation,” Steele said. “But there’s definitely a dusting there right now.”

New Year’s Day in the valley will be even cooler than New Year’s Eve, with afternoon temperatures reaching a high of 45. The weather service forecasts a below-freezing low of 28 overnight, 10 degrees cooler than the normal low for New Year’s Day.

The normal high temperature for both New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day is 56 degrees, Steele said.

Winds will die down Wednesday, and temperatures should increase through the end of the week.

The weather service forecasts highs of 48 on Wednesday, 54 on Thursday, 59 on Friday, and 57 on Saturday. Lows will be near freezing Wednesday night, but will increase to 36 Thursday night and 41 degrees Friday.

Steele said the Valley could see another system of clouds and precipitation or wind move in from the Pacific Ocean during the first weekend of the new year.

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