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Ag Weather Update

Matt Dixon, Meteorologist

UK Ag Weather Center

Updated 9-19-23 at 6:00 PM EDT

Central Kentucky turning dry, hope on the way?

Fall is typically our dry season in the Bluegrass State and thus far, 2023 has followed script. Through September 18th, data at the Ag Weather Center shows the state has only averaged 0.83 inches for the month, which is ~1.25 below normal. Go back 30 days and the average is 1.98, about 1.5 below normal. Saying that, the average rarely tells the whole story. Below is a look at observed and departure-from-normal precipitation over the past 30 days.

Southeastern KY saw some decent rainfall totals this past weekend, while the Pennyrile were the beneficiaries of timely rains over the past few weeks. Looking elsewhere across Kentucky, it's been a different story. A large section of Central and far-Western KY is running 1-3 inches below normal over the past 30 days. In some cases, observed rainfall over that period hasn't even broken an inch. One example is out of Breckinridge County where the local Mesonet station near Hardinsburg has only recorded 0.28 inches since August 15th!

The U.S. Drought Monitor currently only shows a small portion of 'abnormally dry' conditions over the Northern Bluegrass, but look for a large expansion across Central KY in Thursday's update as soil moisture and streams flows are both going in the wrong direction. Looking at the bright side, we're nowhere close to the drought conditions we saw in fall of 2022.

Unfortunately though, don't look for much help this week. Mostly dry conditions look to remain through the workweek and at least the first half of the weekend. The one exception appears to be across Western KY, which could see some isolated to scattered showers on Thursday, but again, accumulations look minimal at this point.

Forecast confidence isn't all that great heading into next workweek, but there's at least hints of rain as an area of low pressure meanders into the region. This could result in a more active pattern, but again, we're still a ways out in the forecast. Fingers-crossed that it happens. This is reflected in the 6-10 day outlook (left image), which shows a slight lean in favor of above normal precipitation between September 24th and the 28th.

In some good news, it's been relatively cool recently. In fact, most everyone has dropped into the 40s at some point over the past week. The Harrison and Meade County Mesonet stations even dropped into the low-40s this morning (image below)! We'll jump back into the 80s across the state tomorrow and remain that way through Saturday, before dropping into the 70s heading into next workweek.

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