Rain this week could end Valley drought

HARLINGEN — A tropical disturbance billowing in this week from the Gulf of Mexico may put an end to the Rio Grande Valley’s early-season drought conditions.

Forecasters at the National Weather Service in Brownsville predict 4 to 6 inches of rain this week in Cameron and Willacy counties, which are the hardest-hit drought areas.

Hidalgo County, which is split between moderate drought in the east and abnormally dry conditions in the west, can expect two to four inches of rain.

“This will be a very beneficial rainfall to the region, especially along the coast, that’s where our most severe drought is,” Matthew Brady, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Brownsville, said yesterday.

The U.S. Drought Monitor index as of 10 days ago listed northern Cameron and 90 percent of Willacy County as being in severe drought, with southern Cameron being in moderate drought.

Before the rains this past weekend, Harlingen had received only 4.13 inches of rain for the year, about 4.65 inches below normal. Brownsville was down more than 3 inches for the year and McAllen down almost 5 inches.

“We’re going to see some periods of heavy rainfall through Thursday across our area,” Brady said. “We may see some minor flooding, and it’s just going to be mainly nuisance flooding.

“But you still have some time to clear out those storm drains and ditches if there is any debris in there,” he added.