On Monday evening, the rainless streak in Las Vegas seemed to come to an end. After 153 consecutive days of no measurable rainfall in the city, which had surpassed the 150-day record on Friday, National Weather Service (NWS) radar indicated a hint of precipitation in the atmosphere.
Despite the timing of the American Southwestern Monsoon drawing to a close during mid-September, the city had not received measurable rainfall since April 20, 2020, when 0.2 of an inch spritzed over the city. Monsoon season started in June. The city's previous record of consecutive days without rainfall had occurred in 1959 from Feb. 22 to July 21, and the record books looked to close this streak at 153 days.
But when the NWS rainfall survey came in on Tuesday, only a trace of rain was reported at McCarran International Airport -- meaning that although parts of Las Vegas got some rain, no measurable rain was actually recorded at the airport. Even though some parts of the city might have had rain, the official streak continued.
"Measurable rainfall is what constitutes as a wet or a dry day, meaning rainfall at 0.01 of an inch or more," AccuWeather Meteorologist Courtney Travis said. "A 'trace' of rain, or the 'T' you see in the climo report, is less than that 0.01 of an inch right at that location," she explained, referring to a climatology report.
For climatology purposes, most records like precipitation amounts and maximum and minimum temperatures are recorded at a specific location -- typically airports, which monitor these weather conditions for flight purposes.
"While it is possible that other locations across the Las Vegas region could have received 0.01 of an inch of rain or more, the airport receiving only a trace means the dry streak continues," Travis said.
This is an example of isolated rainfall, where that precipitation that fell didn't represent the area as a whole, Travis explained.
The stretch is expected to continue, with the Las Vegas area to remain dry into the beginning of October as the Western fire season bakes the western third of the country. For the past 10 days, Las Vegas has recorded temperatures at or above 100 degrees Fahrenheit, and the high temperatures are expected to continue to reach triple digits until the weekend before temperatures surge once more.
Drought conditions continue throughout Nevada, with the majority of Clark County, including Las Vegas, experiencing extreme drought, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor.