Hour-long storm almost clears city rain deficit

HARLINGEN — Unexpected rain, like a windfall of cash, always seems sweeter.

A broad, loud and slow-moving thunderstorm stalled over much of the city Monday afternoon, dropping 1.48 inches of precipitation at Valley International Airport which practically ended a year-long rain shortfall.

The rainfall boosted the city out of a nearly three-inch deficit, putting the total for the year at 11.13. Normal annual rainfall for the city by July 31 is 12.35 inches.

The northwest portions of the city received 1.25 inches of rain, and the western portion just 0.91 inches, said Barry Goldsmith, warning coordination meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Brownsville.

Goldsmith says he was in the middle of it.

“I was arriving at Valley International when the rain and lightning hit,” he said. “We really threaded the needle to land.”

The rain at Valley International boosted the total for the month of July to 3.28 inches, above the average 1.93 inches.

“These sea breeze-induced thunderstorms combined for just long enough to change that outcome for July,” Goldsmith said.

All of the rain, lightning and booms of artillery-like thunder occurred in exactly one hour, ending precisely at 3:52 p.m.

The rain came despite weather forecasters’ prediction of its low probability for the day.

The official rain total was recorded at Valley International Airport, although it is likely some areas in the east and south parts of the city received even more rain. Most of it, 1.40 inches, fell between 3:02 and 3:19 p.m.