July 2008: Early Soaking, Dolly Kill Drought

Immense amounts of rain bookended the month of July, with torrential bursts from Hurricane Dolly not only ending the drought, but shattering some all time monthly records by several inches across much of the Lower Rio Grande Valley. The highest totals were found in extreme eastern Hidalgo, southwestern Willacy, and northern and central Cameron County. Unfortunately, a number of surface reporting stations, including airports, cooperative observers, and Community Collaborative Rain, Hail, and Snow (CoCoRaHS) network observers either did not report, or were unable to report, rainfall due to power outages in the path of Dolly's strongest winds across northern Cameron into southern Willacy County.

A prolonged period of clouds and rain during the first full week of the month, followed by Dolly, and later, resulting slow evaporation of surface moisture which followed the storm, held monthly temperatures substantially below average for the middle of summer. Across the Lower Rio Grande Valley, temperatures were generally 1 to 2 degrees below the 30 year average, placing Brownsville, Harlingen, and McAllen within the top 20 coolest July's since records began (1878 in Brownsville, 1911 in Harlingen, and 1941 in McAllen). Harlingen (8th coolest) and McAllen (15th coolest) data are incomplete due to power loss after Dolly.

Here are a couple of more interesting facts from Dolly's rains (6.68 inches) in Brownsville on July 23rd:

  • Was the greatest single day total of any July;
  • Was the 11th highest 24 hour total of any calendar day since 1878;
  • Was greater than the total rainfall for any July except in 1978 and 1919!

Below is a table of rain totals for July. Many locations, both official and unofficial, reported no data, insufficient data, or incomplete data. Locations such as Port Isabel/Cameron County Airport were knocked off line just as the heaviest rains were arriving during Dolly; available data was deemed too unrepresentative to include in this report. The table will be updated if and when additional representative rainfall information trickle in.


Rainfall Data, July 2008, from Airports, Cooperative Observers, and CoCoRAHS.
Many sites missing data or incomplete due to power outages or wind from Dolly.
CITY/TOWN
COUNTY
RAINFALL (INCHES)
CITY/TOWN
COUNTY
RAINFALL (INCHES)
5 SSE San Benito
Cameron
17.64
3.5 N Brownsville
Cameron
12.64
Laguna Atascosa
Cameron
17.13
11.1 N La Joya
Hidalgo
12.61
Harlingen
Cameron
15.32i
4.5 NNW Brownsville
Cameron
12.48
Rancho Viejo
Cameron
14.80
Brownsville 6.4 SE
Cameron
12.31
1.5 NNE Alamo
Hidalgo
14.77
Cameron Park 3.9 W
Cameron
12.12
2.6 NE McAllen
Hidalgo
14.48
Weslaco/Mid Valley
Hidalgo
11.95i
2.6 NW McAllen
Hidalgo
14.41
Mercedes
Hidalgo
11.73
2.2 NW Palm Valley
Cameron
14.21i
McCook
Hidalgo
10.11i
2.6 SE Harlingen
Cameron
14.17
Falcon Dam
Zapata
9.82i
Los Fresnos
Cameron
13.84
Escobas
Zapata
9.75
San Manuel
Hidalgo
13.35
Hebbronville
Jim Hogg
9.57
4.1 E Brownsville
Cameron
13.32
Falcon Lake
Starr/Zapata
8.78
Brownsville Intl Arpt
Cameron
13.24
Armstrong
Kenedy
8.34
Harlingen Valley Arpt
Cameron
13.22i
McAllen
Hidalgo
8.06i
Linn San Manuel
Hidalgo
13.11
7 E Sarita
Kenedy
7.83
Santa Ana NWR
Hidalgo
13.10
Falfurrias/Brooks Apt
Brooks
6.13i
1.9 NE Mission
Hidalgo
12.75
Rio Grande City
Starr
5.46i
*Data Estimated.
i = Data Incomplete.
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