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Friday, July 9, 1999 Published at 12:42 GMT 13:42 UK

World: Americas

Las Vegas hit by killer floods

The floods were the worst in 15 years

A powerful summer storm has smashed into Las Vegas, killing at least two people and destroying mobile homes.

[ image: A home slides into Flamingo Wash]
A home slides into Flamingo Wash
Parts of Las Vegas Valley experienced three-quarters of their average annual rainfall in just a few hours.

Meteorologists said it was the worst flooding to hit the desert city - famed for its casinos - in 15 years.

One man's body was found in a flood channel and a woman died in a traffic accident.

"[The storm] was picking up cars and throwing them around like toothpicks," said onlooker Robert Anderson, who saw his neighbour's mobile home swept away.

Casinos provide shelter

Water turned parts of the Interstate highway into a lake, and firefighters had to rescue stranded motorists from their waterlogged cars.

[ image: A motorist is winched to safety]
A motorist is winched to safety
Firefighters said hundreds of cars were trapped in high waters and at least three mobile homes had been lost.

Tourists sought shelter in the casinos along the city's famed Strip, and part of Caesar's Palace hotel casino was closed.

The National Weather Service said that three inches of rain (7.5cm) fell in just a few hours on Thursday. The Las Vegas area usually receives barely more than four inches in an entire year.

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