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What is the Wash?
Visiting the Wash

Preparing for flash flood season

While often associated with soaring temperatures and dry climate, July through September is flash flood season, and the Clark County Regional Flood Control District (CCRFCD) wants to make sure that valley residents are prepared.

During this time, hot air currents cause an unstable atmosphere in the Gulf of Mexico, resulting in severe thunderstorms. Heavy rainfall on steep mountain slopes and the hard desert surface cause rainwater to run off rapidly, concentrating in the urbanized areas at lower elevations.


Throughout flash flood season, motorists should take extra precautions when driving during intense summer storms. Just a few inches of swiftly moving water can severely impact a driver’s ability to control a vehicle, even SUVs. Never drive through a flooded roadway or around barricades as roads underneath may be damaged and impassable. If caught in a severe storm, pull over to higher ground and wait for the storm to pass. CCRFCD’s website also provides real-time rainfall information at more than 171 locations throughout Clark County.

Children or pets should never be allowed to play in floodwater, which can be filled with residues from oil, chemicals, pet waste and other dangerous debris. Water flowing through channels and into detention basins can rise as fast as one foot per minute and move as quickly as 30 miles per hour. According to national statistics, more deaths occur in floods each year than any other natural disaster.

Homeowners should take a look around their neighborhood to make sure that local drainage pathways are not blocked by debris, wire mesh, bricks or other large items. When drainage becomes blocked, stormwater can begin to pond and may cause isolated flooding.

Safety is especially important when visiting the Wash. While water at the Clark County Wetlands Park meets all federal standards, it is not intended for human contact and swimming, wading and fishing are not allowed.

Swift moving water only inches deep can sweep a person off their feet, and the National Park Service identifies several common hazards facing someone in distress:

A trip to the Wash can be educational and fun. Remaining cautious while experiencing all the Wash has to offer is the best way to enjoy it fully during flash flood season and year-round.

To kick off flash flood season, the CCRFCD holds a billboard license plate contest giving residents the chance to submit flood safety message ideas. Past winners include "PAYS2WAIT," "NO1WINS," "BADGMBL," "UNOBETR," "2DEEP4U" and "W8ITOUT." For more flood safety tips and contest details, contact the CCFRCD at (702) 685-0000 or online at www.regionalflood.org.

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Las Vegas Wash Project Coordination Team • 100 City Parkway, Suite 700 • Las Vegas, NV 89106 • (702) 822-3300