2013: A dry, then wet weather year in county

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For drought-stricken Valencia County, 2013 was a lucky number, bringing 11.36 inches of precipitation — about 148 percent of the local average of 7.67.

Rain or snow fell at least once in every month except June, an important agricultural time, during which there was not a drop of moisture. June usually registers an average of .61 inches of rain.

The drought seemed to have decided to settle in and stay as the year began. During the first half of 2013, the skies were miserly, giving up only .71 inches of the total.

One dry month followed the next with only .16 inches in January, .28 in February, .08 in March, .15 in April and, as the growing season began, .04 in May and none in June.

But the second half of the year brought a bounty of blessings to farmers, gardeners and well-owners even if experts said it wasn’t enough to take the state completely out of the drought.

The wettest month was July, with a total of 5.49 inches of rain falling on 13 of its 31 days. News-Bulletin measurements were taken on Belen’s West Side, which waded through a flood-making 2.14 inches of rain on July 26.

Other areas in the county experienced similar problems, with some residents stuck in their homes waiting for streets to dry out the next morning, which was, fortunately, a Saturday.

August was a bit dryer, with .78 inches, followed by September’s 2.51 inches, just in time to produce the last cuttings of alfalfa.

The last quarter of the year produced much more rain than usual, with .36 inches in October, .88 in November and .63 in December.

November received more than twice its usual rate of precipitation.

On the National Weather Service’s website, it was reported that the area’s good luck might not continue. It quoted the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration outlook for January through March as “leaning toward a drier than normal winter, especially across the west.”

News-Bulletin records show that Valencia County’s wettest months normally are August and September, with averages of 1.53 and 1.03 respectively. The driest month is usually March, which averages only .02 inches of moisture, followed by May, with .08.

Valencia County was a bit wetter than Bernalillo County, just to the north. On Dec. 31, the Albuquerque Journal showed that the city had 9.32 inches of rain during 2013.