Two catastrophic extreme precipitation events in July 2021 and August 1975 caused tremendous damages and deaths in Henan, one of the most populated provinces in China. Revealing the relationship between large-scale circulation patterns and precipitation extremes is vital for understanding the physical mechanisms and providing potential value for improving prediction and hence reducing impacts. Here, nine large-scale circulation patterns are identified for July–August using the self-organizing map. We find daily precipitation extremes under the fifth pattern (P5), characterized with the strongest easterly wind anomalies in Henan, feature the highest frequency and the largest intensity. Seven out of total 11 days in the two catastrophic extreme precipitation events belong to P5, and the top two maximum hourly precipitation extremes over continental China occurred under P5. The larger intensity of precipitation extremes is attributed to the dynamical contribution, suggesting more-intense precipitation extremes under P5 are largely dominated by stronger ascending motions.