March swamped by rain totaling 10 inches

HARLINGEN — Last week’s wet weather drove a stake through the heart of the drought and wildfire seasons, with two stalled cold fronts generating up to 10 inches of rain in spots in the Rio Grande Valley.

Just west of Raymondville, rainfall totals for the week ending Sunday hit four to seven inches.

In Cameron County, Harlingen received nearly two inches of rain for the week. The only areas in the county that didn’t receive significant rainfall were coastal Cameron and coastal Willacy counties.

“It looks like Harlingen reported 1.66 inches during that period from the 8th,” said Geoffrey Bogorad, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Brownsville. “The big day was on the ninth when they received an inch of rainfall, and the next day they had a little over half an inch.”

The rain patterns were caused by two weak cold fronts which stalled over the Rio Grande Valley.

“March is one of the driest months of the year,” Bogorad said yesterday. “It’s not unheard of that we get a heavy rainfall in the month but on average I think the rainfall for the Rio Grande Valley is about an inch to about an inch and a quarter.”

In western Hidalgo County, between La Joya/Alton to the south of McCook, nearly eight inches of rain swamped the mostly rural area and its colonias, leaving a foot of water standing in some fields, weather service meteorologists said.

“In the band that extended from La Joya/Penitas through La Joya/Alton, then eastward just north of Edinburg and terminating in western Willacy County, between four and seven inches fell,” the NWS website reported.

“Combined with the prior rains on March 4th, between five and more than 10 inches fell or four to eight times the monthly average for March,” the NWS website reported.

“January and February were pretty dry so the spring March rainfall helps of course any time,” Bogorad said. “We’re always in kind of a perpetual drought so when we do get any rain outside of our summertime peak, it’s a good thing.”

Harlingen average monthly rainfall

January — 1.22

February — 1.69

March — 1.54

April — 2.13

May — 3.07

June — 2.44

July — 2.01

August — 2.17

September — 5.28

October — 3.11

November — 1.34

December — 1.50

* Average for year: 27.5 inches