A winter storm brought rare snowfall to the Las Vegas Strip, dusting casino marquees and prompting revelers to erect a snowman near the famous "Welcome to Las Vegas" sign. A half-inch of the white stuff began falling late Wednesday, marking the first significant snowfall at McCarran International Airport in a decade, the National Weather Service said. (On Dec. 17, 2008, 3.6 inches of snow was recorded at the airport.) Some suburban foothill areas were pillowy white after getting several inches of snow, the AP reports. Forecasters say the snow amounts could reach 3 inches by Friday on western and southern outskirts of the city, but rain could reduce accumulation.
The snow snarled flights at the airport and traffic on highways. "We don't have snowplows," airport spokeswoman Christine Crews said as she tallied about 100 flight cancellations due to snow and ice. "But we have airfield maintenance vehicles and sweepers ready to go." Some flight delays reached more than two hours, the Federal Aviation Administration said. Las Vegas schools were open and the Nevada Highway Patrol said some areas had snow and ice but highways were also open. "We have tons of crashes, just like if it was raining," Trooper Jason Buratczuk said during the morning commute. "The roads are wet. It's coming down pretty good." Buratczuk said he saw almost a foot of accumulated snow in some suburban areas, and chains were required for vehicles on the main highway through a mountain pass between Las Vegas and Pahrump. (Thanks to heavy snow, teen makes $35,000 in four days.)