Rains reach near record

By Karl Terry: PNT Managing Editor

March 2007 will go into the record books as one of the wettest in more than a half century in Roosevelt County.

The 2.83 inches of rain is the most since 1948, according to meteorologist Bryan Guyer at the Albuquerque office of the NWS.

Most of last month’s precipitation came the night of March 23 tornado and early morning of March 24. Portales recorded 1.42 inches that morning.

NOAA weather data recorded at Eastern New Mexico University shows March of 1926 (3.05 inches) and 1941 (3.01) were wetter, according to data on record at the Roosevelt County Extension office, which former extension agent Floyd McAlister said he compiled. March of 1919 also edged this year with 2.85 recorded.

“It’s possible,” Guyer said, “1941 was one of the wettest years on record for a lot of places out there.”

McAlister said either way, this spring has been one of the wettest he can remember.

“So far it’s good. Let’s hope it continues,” McAlister said.

The average precipitation for March in Portales is 0.55 inches according to the NWS. McAlister’s records, going back to 1912 with some missing months, show an average of 0.67 inches.

Guyer said an upper-level low over Arizona and southwestern New Mexico was the source of the near-record rain. He said it the weather pattern similar to those of late spring allowed the dry line to retreat as far west as Tucumcari, which allowed moisture from the Gulf of Mexico to be pumped into the region.
Dale Miller, who farms near Floyd, said his wheat crop is off to a great start this spring.

“I don’t remember receiving any better, Miller said of the spring precipitation. “That snow (in January and February) got us off to a great start. These recent rains were icing on the cake.”

Top 10 Years

March precipitation since 1912

1926 — 3.05 inches
1941 — 3.01 inches
1919 — 2.85 inches
2007 — 2.83 inches
1985 — 2.73 inches
1973 — 1.94 inches
1999 — 1.86 inches
2001 — 1.86 inches
1934 — 1.86 inches
1915 — 1.77 inches

Average precipitation

March — 0.67
August — 3.04 (highest )
February — 0.40 (lowest)
Annual — 17.83

Source: Roosevelt County Cooperative Extension
* Data from 1912 to 2006 with some months missing from data