1941: The Wettest September on Record in New Mexico_Part 1 (Photo Credit: West Kentucky Genealogical Society)
The year 1941 stands out as being the highest annual precipitation value for the state of New Mexico. The value for 1941 looks out of place compared to the average statewide precipitation of 14 inches that New Mexico receives each year, but it is no mistake in the data. The record for 1941 is 26.25 inches. The graph shows almost 6 inches of precipitation for September 1941 alone and a second large peak in the month of May. The month of September seems to experience the largest range in precipitation values for New Mexico. The September events for 1941 were thought to have been associated with a strong monsoon moisture plume and/or tropical system(s) and consisted of two major storm periods.
September is the most likely month for New Mexico to be affected by tropical storm remnants, having flash flooding and large amounts of precipitation about every three out of 5 years. Tropical storm records for the eastern Pacific are not available for 1941, but historic records indicate that three tropical storms tracked along the west coast of Mexico in September of 1941. On September 20, 1941, a tropical disturbance advisory was issued for New Orleans and Jacksonville and strong high pressure over the Atlantic States. Warm, moist air from the Gulf is bringing great moisture to the Plains and Middle Rockies. Similarly, an influx of moisture from TS 4 on September 28th combined with a strong cold frontal passage produced heavy rain over the central and eastern portions of the state.
Between July and September, there is normally an increase in precipitation in New Mexico due to a surge of monsoon moisture. The 1941 monsoon season had the 20th highest total rainfall for June-September precipitation. Most months throughout the 1941 calendar year were not outrageously wet, but precipitation continued at anomalous rates for 9 out of 12 months that year.
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© 2017 Meteorologist Sharon Sullivan