WHAT MAKES LAS VEGAS AWESOME
Las Vegas, officially the City of Las Vegas and often known simply as Vegas, is the 28th-most populated city in the United States, the most populated city in the state of Nevada, and the county seat of Clark County. The city anchors the Las Vegas Valley metropolitan area and is the largest city within the greater Mojave Desert. Las Vegas is an internationally renowned major resort city known primarily for its gambling, shopping, fine dining, entertainment, and nightlife. It is the leading financial, commercial, and cultural center for Nevada.
The city bills itself as The Entertainment Capital of the World, and is famous for its mega casino–hotels and associated activities. It is a top three destination in the United States for business conventions and a global leader in the hospitality industry, claiming more AAA Five Diamond hotels than any city in the world. Today, Las Vegas annually ranks as one of the world's most visited tourist destinations.
Las Vegas was settled in 1905 and officially incorporated in 1911. Population growth has accelerated since the 1960s, and between 1990 and 2000 the population nearly doubled, increasing by 85.2%. Rapid growth has continued into the 21st century, and according to a 2013 estimate, the population is 603,488 with a regional population of 2,027,828.
"Las Vegas" is often used to describe areas beyond official city limits—especially the areas on and near the Las Vegas Strip, which is actually located within the unincorporated communities of Paradise, Winchester, and Enterprise.
Las Vegas is situated within Clark County in a
basin on the floor of the Mojave Desert and is
surrounded by mountain ranges on all sides.
Much of the landscape is rocky and arid with
desert vegetation and wildlife. It can be subjected
to torrential flash floods, although much has been
done to mitigate the effects of flash floods through
improved drainage systems.
The peaks surrounding Las Vegas reach elevations
of over 10,000 feet (3,000 m), and act as barriers
to the strong flow of moisture from the surrounding area. The elevation is approximately 2,030 ft (620 m) above sea level. According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 135.86 sq mi (351.9 km2), of which 135.81 sq mi (351.7 km2) is land and 0.05 sq mi (0.13 km2) (0.03%) is water.
Nevada is the third most seismically active state in the U.S. (after Alaska and California); it has been estimated by the United States Geological Survey (USGS) that over the next 50 years there is a 10–20% chance of a M6.0 or greater earthquake occurring within 50 km of Las Vegas.
Within the city there are many lawns, trees and other greenery. Due to water resource issues, there has been a movement to encourage xeriscapes. Another part of conservation efforts is scheduled watering days for residential landscaping. A U.S. Environmental Protection Agency grant in 2008 funded a program that analyzed and forecast growth and environmental impacts through the year 2019.
Las Vegas has a subtropical hot desert climate, typical of the Mojave Desert in which it lies. This climate is typified by long, very hot summers; warm transitional seasons; and short, mild to chilly winters. There is abundant sunshine throughout the year, with an average of 310 sunny days and bright sunshine occurring during 86% of all daylight hours. Rainfall is scarce, with an average of 4.2 in (110 mm) dispersed between roughly 26 to 27 total rainy days per year.
Las Vegas is among the sunniest, driest, and least humid locations in all of North America, with exceptionally low dew points and humidity that sometimes remains below 10%.
The summer months of June through September are very hot, though moderated by extremely low humidity. July is the hottest month with an average daytime high of 104.2 °F (40.1 °C). On average, 134 days per year reach or exceed 90 °F (32 °C), of which 74 days reach 100 °F (38 °C) and 7 days reach 110 °F (43 °C). During the peak intensity of summer, overnight lows frequently remain above 80 °F (27 °C) and occasionally above 85 °F (29 °C). While most summer days are consistently hot, dry, and cloudless, the North American Monsoon sporadically interrupts this pattern and brings more cloud cover, thunderstorms, lightning, increased humidity, and brief spells of heavy rain to the area. The window of opportunity for the monsoon to affect Las Vegas usually falls between July and August, although this is inconsistent and varies considerably in its impact from year to year.
Las Vegas winters are short and generally very mild, with chilly (but rarely cold) daytime temperatures. Like all seasons, sunshine during the winter is abundant. December is both the coolest and cloudiest month of the year, with an average daytime high of 56.6 °F (13.7 °C) and sunshine occurring during 78% of its daylight hours. Winter evenings are defined by clear skies and swift drops in temperature after sunset, with overnight lows sinking to 39 °F (3.9 °C) or lower during the majority of nights in December and January. Owing to its elevation that ranges from 2,000 feet to 3,000 feet, Las Vegas experiences markedly cooler winters than other areas of the Mojave Desert and the adjacent Sonoran Desert that are closer to sea level.
Consequently, the city records freezing temperatures an average of 16 nights per winter. However, it is exceptionally rare for temperatures to ever fall to or below 25 °F (−4 °C), or for temperatures to remain below 45 °F (7 °C) for an entire day. Most of the annual precipitation falls during the winter months, but even the wettest month (February) averages only four days of measurable rain. The mountains immediately surrounding the Las Vegas Valley accumulate snow every winter, but significant or sustained accumulation of any kind within the city itself is rare. The most recent major event occurred on December 16, 2008, when Las Vegas received 3.6 inches (9.1 cm).