Las Vegas, NVTop Climate Change Risks: Drought, Heat, Fire

Risk Snapshot

Climate Change Hazard Ratings for Las Vegas, NV

Ratings represent risk relative to the contiguous United States. 100 is the highest risk for the hazard and 1 is the lowest for the U.S., but does not indicate no risk. Flood and fire are rated based on the buildings in Las Vegas exposed to these hazards. See hazard sections below and check your address for details.

People in Las Vegas, NV are especially likely to experience increased risks from drought, heat, and fire.

In addition to extreme heat, drought poses the most direct threat to Las Vegas, which has limited rainfall and water sources. Tourism dominates Las Vegas’ economy, requiring immense amounts of water for accommodations, housing, food, famous water features, and more. Intensified droughts not only potentially hurt the local people and native ecosystems, but also represent a fundamental threat to Las Vegas’ economy.

Drought risk in Las Vegas, NV

The recent average water stress in Las Vegas is high and projected to increase through 2050.

The Las Vegas Wash watershed, which contains Las Vegas, NV, has experienced 905 weeks (79% of weeks) since 2000 with some of its area in drought of any level, and 133 weeks (12% of weeks) since 2000 with some of its area in Extreme or Exceptional drought. Source: National Drought Monitor.

Climate change is increasing the risk of drought. Water stress (the ratio of water demand to supply) depends on how water utilities source water and their plans to adapt to climate change. Property owners can also take steps to reduce their risks from drought.

Heat risk in Las Vegas, NV

The number of the hottest days in Las Vegas is projected to keep increasing.

In a typical year between 1985-2005, people in Las Vegas, NV experienced about 7 days above 109.2ºF in a year. By 2050, people in Las Vegas are projected to experience an average of about 36 days per year over 109.2ºF.

Climate change is increasing the frequency and intensity of heat waves, even in places with cooler average temperatures. See more information on heat risk. Everyone can take steps to reduce their risks from extreme heat.

Fire risk in Las Vegas, NV

The risk on the most dangerous fire weather days in Las Vegas is very high. The number of these days per year is expected to increase through 2050.

Of 256 census tracts in Las Vegas, NV, there are 81 where more than a quarter of buildings have significant fire risk, and 43 where more than half of buildings have significant fire risk. Property owners can take steps to mitigate their risks from wildfires.

Fire risk depends on proximity to vegation: densely developed urban areas have a much lower risk of burning than areas adjacent to wildland. Climate change increases risks from wildfire by creating hotter, drier conditions for fires to spread. ClimateCheck ratings of fire risk are based on projected weather conditions and U.S. Forest Service models simulating fire behavior.

Flood risk in Las Vegas, NV

Buildings at risk in Las Vegas average about a 16% chance of a flood about 10.0 inches deep over 30 years.

Of 256 census tracts in Las Vegas, NV, there are 62 where more than half of buildings have significant risk from surface (pluvial) flooding and riverine (fluvial) flooding.Property owners can check a specific address for flood risk including FEMA flood zone, then take steps to reduce their vulnerability to flooding damage.

Climate change is increasing inland and coastal flooding risk due to sea level rise and increasing chances of extreme precipitation. See more information on flooding risk.

Precipitation risk in Las Vegas, NV

The amount of precipitation during the most extreme days in Las Vegas is projected to remain about the same through 2050.

An extreme storm for Las Vegas, NV is a 48-hour rainfall total greater than 0.2 inches. Historically, about 3.0" of rain (or the equivalent in snow) fell over about 8 storms each year. By 2050, about 3.1" of rain are projected over about 9 storms each year. The annual precipitation in Las Vegas, NV is projected to remain about the same, 4.3".

Extreme precipitation in any form can pose significant risks. Climate change increases the potential for extreme rainfall or snowfall because warmer air can hold more water vapor. See more information on storm risk. Property owners can take steps to reduce their risks from extreme precipitation.

How can we prevent and adapt to climate change?

Mitigating climate change, by eliminating our emissions into the atmosphere and reducing our strain on the environment, and adapting to our changing planet are both vital to our well-being.

Understand Risks

The risks presented on this page reflect averages for Las Vegas, NV and can vary for individual properties. Check your address and request a report describing risks to your property and in your area.

Protect Homes and Communities

Check our free report for tips on protecting your home from hazards.

Green infrastructure is a category of nature-based solutions for managing increasing precipitation. Find resources for individuals and municipalities through the EPA Soak Up the Rain initiative.

Planting trees and vegetation helps reduce extreme heat in urban environments. Cool pavements can also help. Search the Heat Island Community Actions Database to see what some municipalities have been doing to reduce extreme heat risk.

Read more about building resilience for communities: U.S. Climate Resilience Toolkit

Use the Common Cause tool to find your representatives, how to contact them, and information about political contributions and bills they have introduced.

Find Balance

Reducing emissions is necessary and possible across the globe and in every part of our society. Learn more with the Project Drawdown introduction to climate solutions.

Estimate your emissions with the CoolClimate calculator.