Even though Lake Mead is lower on water right now than it has ever been, it is still a huge place. And it is the last place you want to be in Nevada with monsoon-like winds roll in like they did on Tuesday.
“It kind of came out of nowhere. We didn’t expect it to hit as hard as it did,” game warden Adam Bonaparte said.
Quite a few people were still out on the water when the storm hit. Rangers got 70 distress calls from folks on Lake Mead.
“We received many distress calls, and we actually had to make about 10 or 11 rescues of people who were out on the water,” Lake Mead National Recreation Area spokeswoman Christie Vanover said.
Mitch Calderwood’s wife was swimming near their boat and had taken her lifejacket off. The storm blew in so fast that she could not get back to the boat. Rescuers found her, almost four hours later, alive. She had treaded water all that time, and had been blown to the center of the he lake, thousands of feet from where she was swimming when the storm hit.
The storm had produced swells eight feet high, had capsized other boats, and left people huddling in coves, riding the storm out.
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“We are very, very lucky. I think she dodged a bullet. Don’t take your life jacket off. Leave it on all the time,” Mitch Calderwood said.
Mead is so large, that wardens tell people to get to shore as soon as they see clouds forming. Winds can get quite bad, causing swells.
“The storms will sneak up on us. Lake Mead has a lot of wind, so the wind will cause rough seas,” Bonaparte said.
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