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Las Vegas, Nevada
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Topography, History, and Programs

Las Vegas is located in a broad desert valley in extreme southern Nevada. Mountains surrounding the valley extend 2,000 to 10,000 feet above the valley floor. The Las Vegas Valley comprises about 600 square miles and runs from northwest to southeast. The valley is bounded on the north by the Sheep Range, while Boulder City and the Lake Mead National Recreation Area are generally considered its southern extent. To the west are the Spring Mountains, which include Mt. Charleston, the region’s highest peak at 11,918 feet. Several smaller ranges line the eastern rim of the valley, including the McCullough Range, the Muddy Mountains, the Black Mountains, and the Eldorado Range.

Official weather observations began in 1937 at what is now Nellis Air Force Base. In late 1948, the U.S. Weather Bureau moved to McCarran Field, now McCarran International Airport. McCarran is located 7 miles south of downtown Las Vegas. It is approximately 5 miles southwest of, and 300 feet higher than the lowest part of the valley. Thus, for most of the Las Vegas metropolitan area, the valley floor slopes downward from west to east. This affects the local climatology significantly in terms of driving variations in wind, precipitation, and storm runoff. To read about the history of the Las Vegas Weather Office, click here.

National Weather Service Office Building

The office is located on 9.5 acres of desert terrain, is bordered on two sides by homes and one side by a strip mall. Open land to the south, immediately gives way to one of the area's casinos less than .5 miles away. The WSR-88D is located roughly 35 air miles to the southeast of the NWSO and is located at roughly 5,000 ft on top of Nelson Peak.

The NWSO in Las Vegas services the largest population center in the state and provides weather services for one of the largest County Warning Areas (CWA) within the CONUS (approximately 70,000 square miles).  The CWA covers parts of Nevada, California, and Arizona. The Las Vegas CWA has had the fastest growing population of any since 1990. Weather forecasting is a challenge with the lowest and highest points in the CONUS being in or on our CWA border. A diversified program entails watch/warning responsibility, public and aviation forecasts, public service, an extensive ALERT network, NOAA Weather Radio, cooperative stations, and climate.

Reference

Skrbac, P. and S. Cordero, 1995: Climate of Las Vegas.  NOAA Technical Memorandum NWS WR-235.

Our Staff

Click here to see a listing of the people that serve you in this office.

Sample List of Critical Products

Click here to see a listing of our warning, watch, and advisory criteria.


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Las Vegas Weather Forecast Office
7851 S Dean Martin Dr.
Las Vegas, NV 89139-6628

Tel: (702) 263-9744

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