A rare pre-winter storm brought Las Vegas its heaviest snowfall in nearly three decades, closing the airport and freeways as several inches coated marquees on the Las Vegas Strip and weighed down palm trees.
The storm Wednesday and early Thursday also dumped snow on rain on much of southern California and parts of Nevada outside Las Vegas.
The National Weather Service measured 3.6 inches of snow overnight at Las Vegas' McCarran International Airport, and meteorologist Jerome Jacques said about 2 inches was left before dawn on the ground near the "Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas" sign.
"Snow is not unknown in the Las Vegas valley. On average we get 1/2 inch of snow a year," Jacques said. "But this amount made it a significant storm. We haven't had this amount of snow since 1979."
The weather service recorded 7.5 inches of snow at McCarran on Jan. 30-31, 1979.
The snow Wednesday prompted the cancellation of all flights in and out of Vegas. Visitors parked and posed for pictures wearing hooded jackets.
Other parts of Nevada were forecast to receive as much as 8 inches of snow in the second winter storm this week to drop snow on the desert city. Snowfall is common in nearby mountains hills, but not on the Strip or surrounding neighborhoods.