The Eastern New Mexico News - Serving Clovis, Portales and the Surrounding Communities

My turn: Rain can be too much of a good thing


A little rain sounds good about now, but be careful what you wish for.

Portales had maybe too much of a good thing in the spring, summer and fall of 1941.

Records show the city received almost 43 inches of rain from March through October — more than double its annual average and a record that’s never come close to being broken in 96 years of record keeping.

“During Wednesday night and Thursday morning (June 4-5, 1941), 3.28 inches of rain fell in Portales, which made the streets of the city rushing rivers,” the Clovis News-Journal reported.

A local Red Cross official said four families had requested assistance because their homes were flooded. The road to Floyd was closed because of floodwaters and highway officials warned of a “lake” with standing water more than a foot deep on the road to Elida.

At least 14 families — more than 65 people – were forced to leave their west Portales homes in May because of floodwaters. Some of them moved into the merchants’ building at the county fairgrounds for weeks.

May was the year’s wettest month with 12.05 inches of rainfall recorded. About 7 1/2 inches fell in June.

Two Roosevelt County deaths were blamed on the weather.

An 18-month-old Portales boy drowned in a barrel of rainwater at his family’s home on north Crosby Street. A 17-year-old Floyd boy drowned in what the Portales Daily News reported was a “new rain-filled lake.”

Photos on the front page of the Portales paper in May 1941 showed men in rowboats trying to save household goods from flooded homes. Waters ran 4-feet deep in places.


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