weather icon Clear

Mother Nature lends a ‘foot;’ lake’s level rises

The wettest Las Vegas Valley monsoon season in a decade likely isn’t the only reason behind it, but Lake Mead has risen just over 18 inches during recent area rainfall.

As of 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, the lake was at 1,042.44 feet in elevation.

On July 27, about the time rainfall became a nearly daily event in the area, the lake elevation was 1,040.71 feet — which is also the low point for the lake so far this year. Some downpours exceeded a half inch in 10 minutes.

Harry Reid International Airport has received 1.08 inches so far this monsoon season with several areas of the valley receiving considerably more. Between July 27 through Aug. 12, Boulder City received .87 inches of rain.

Rainfall that doesn’t soak into the ground usually finds its way through the Las Vegas Wash to the lake, Southern Nevada Water Authority spokesman Bronson Mack said after the first summer storm in late July.

The rise of 1.73 feet is also the only rise during the summer in at least three years. During summer months the lake level typically declines a foot or two. Winter snowpack on the western slope of the Rocky Mountains is, of course, the biggest factor in the amount of water that flows into Lake Powell and Lake Mead.

Bureau of Reclamation projections have indicated the lake level at Hoover Dam will decline at least 20 feet by the end of the year.

Lake Mead is the source of 90 percent of Southern Nevada’s drinking water, the other 10 percent coming from groundwater.

The nation’s largest reservoir has fallen about 170 feet since the drought began in 2000 and sits at 27 percent capacity, according to the Bureau of Reclamation.

The recent heavy rains, however, have reduced drought levels in Southern Nevada and much of the Southwest.

“Most locales in Arizona, New Mexico, the California deserts, Southern Nevada, and a few other scattered areas have measured at least 200 percent of normal (rainfall) over the past two months,” the U.S. Drought Monitor said in a report issued Aug. 11.

As a result, the “exceptional drought” area in Nevada dropped from nearly 30 percent a week ago to 4 percent on Aug. 11, its lowest point in nearly two years, the report said.

Boulder City is likely to get more rain through the summer monsoon season, which ends Sept. 30. Accuweather is forecasting afternoon thunderstorms for the majority of the next seven days.

Boulder City Review Editor Hali Bernstein Saylor contributed to this report.

Contact Marvin Clemons at mclemons@reviewjournal.com. Follow @Marv_in_Vegas on Twitter.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
Proposal aims to protect river

Six out of seven Colorado River basin states have settled on a proposed set of cuts aimed at saving the crumbling river system and preventing Lake Mead and Lake Powell from crashing — with one very notable state missing from the agreement: California.

‘Rescue Plan’ benefits city

Boulder City released data on how much of the American Rescue Plan Act funding has been spent and what it plans to do with the rest.

Commission issues first certificate of appropriateness

With little to no fanfare, Boulder City’s newly created Historic Preservation Commission issued its first certificate of appropriateness for an exterior addition to a historic property in the community.

Veterans cemetery breaks ground on expansion

Officials held a groundbreaking ceremony Jan. 25 for an expansion at the Southern Nevada Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Boulder City.

Project stalls for lack of way to connect rams with cams

Boulder City Parks and Recreation Department still plans to move forward with “ram cams” in Hemenway Valley Park, but faces a significant challenge in infrastructure preventing the project from moving forward.

News Briefs, Feb. 2

Fire department recognized for lifesaving program

Parks director honored for 45 years of service

Working for the city as director of the Parks and Recreation Department is more than just a job for Roger Hall. It’s a calling and a passion.

Hardy emphasizes service, people in first State of City

Mayor Joe Hardy’s first State of the City address gave him an opportunity to showcase his abilities to unite the community, highlight the accomplishments of others and offer a glimpse into a humorous side of his personality.