(Reuters) - There is nothing weird about seeing snow in January, unless it is falling on sun-kissed expanses including Nevada’s Las Vegas and Arizona’s deserts, which were transformed on Tuesday into winter wonderlands.
Just days after Malibu, California, known for its balmy beaches, was blanketed with snow by an unusual winter storm, frosty flakes made their way to Nevada and Arizona - shocking for some but a welcome relief for many in the drought-plagued U.S. West.
Prescott, Arizona, home of Whiskey Row bars and live music venues, reported 18 inches of accumulation by mid-morning on Tuesday, and it was still snowing, said meteorologist Bob Oravec of the National Weather Service in College Park, Maryland.
“They are actually very happy they are getting this snow,” he said. “Snow pack is always good for future water management.”
About 73% of Arizona is in Exceptional Drought, the most severe category, Oravec said.
In Nevada, nearly an inch coated the area around Las Vegas’s casinos before the blazing sun was expected to return later on Tuesday.
“If you want to go outside & play in it, get out there early before it melts,” tweeted meteorologist Kelly Curran at KSNV News 3 in Las Vegas.
Frosty fun also came with its share of headaches, including car crashes and road closures.
In Nevada, the Scenic Drive at Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area was temporarily closed due to winter weather causing unsafe road conditions, the Bureau of Land Management tweeted.
Snowfall over the weekend in Malibu reportedly resulted in a series of automobile accidents, with gawking drivers sometimes seeing snow for the first time in their lives.
“Yes that is snow on the ground,” tweeted the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department’s Malibu Station, adding an emoji with a very worried look. “If you need to be on the roads, please #slowdown and keep your eyes on the road.”
Reporting by Barbara Goldberg in New York; Editing by Dan Grebler
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