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Ag Weather Update

Matt Dixon, Meteorologist

UK Ag Weather Center

Updated 11-20-23 at 6:00 PM EST

Exceptionally dry November

Hey, folks! Thanksgiving is a few days away and I wanted to send out a quick update before hitting the road. Kicking things off, in what's felt like a replay over the past few months, the first half of November has ran EXTREMELY dry. I've included a couple maps below to illustrate the extent of this dryness—one displaying observed month-to-date precipitation, and the other highlighting the percent-of-normal values. According to data from the Ag Weather Center, the state has averaged a mere 0.31 inches over this period. Combined with what has been a dry autumn, hydrologic challenges have developed. This has especially been the case across the Lake Cumberland Region and SE Kentucky, where stream flows are significantly diminished and running well below average for this time of year. Additionally, there are still 39 county burn bans in effect—check out the list here.

Summing up all the impacts, a significant portion of Southeastern Kentucky (~17%) was downgraded to a 'severe drought' in the latest update of the U.S. Drought Monitor (map below). This represents the highest spatial percentage of severe drought in Kentucky since early December 2022.

As it relates to the dry fall, several specialists from the University of Kentucky are expressing concern for mares as the UK Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory recently identified elevated ergovaline levels in numerous tall fescue samples. For further details on protective measures and available resources from the University of Kentucky, you can explore the UK Ag Communications article found, here.

Help is on the way

We need rainfall and luckily, we're going to get it. Kentucky's seen off and on showers today, but totals have been lackluster with most solidly below a tenth of an inch. The real show is starting now across Western KY and will continue tonight and into tomorrow as an area of low pressure works through the area, producing widespread moderate showers. Ultimately, I've been looking at the latest model runs this evening and there's pretty solid agreement for statewide totals between 0.75 to 1.5 inches. This is shown well in the 48-hour rainfall forecast from the Weather Prediction Center, below. Luckily, any severe weather will stay well to our south/southwest with only a few rumbles of thunder in our neck of the woods.

On a side note, as of 5 PM, showers are beginning to encroach upon Western KY on the new "Weather Alert" app. I'm pleased to share that we're inching closer to its release, and I'm hopeful it won't be too much longer! Additionally, you'll have the ability to personalize your radar, incorporating layers such as NWS watches/warnings and lightning.

Moving back to the forecast, dry conditions then return for at least a couple days, including the Thanksgiving holiday, which will also see highs in the low to mid 50s. There are some hints for light showers over the second half of the week, but forecast confidence isn't all that high right now. Either way, most of the period looks to run dry. Outlooks (below) then favor drier and seasonably cool conditions to end the month. Normal highs for the end of November run in the upper 40s to low 50s.

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Related News from UK and Beyond

Kentucky Crop Progress and Condition Report - USDA NASS Kentucky Field Office, November 20, 2023

November Weather is Suitable for Aphid Feeding & Virus Transmission on Wheat - Dr. Raul Villanueva, UK Extension Entomology Specialist

Large Kentucky Corn and Soybean Crops Expected - USDA NASS Kentucky Field Office, November 9, 2023

University of Kentucky researcher is a driving force in tar spot research for corn producers - Jordan Strickler with UK Ag Communications, November 15, 2023

Midwest Region El Niño Impacts and Outlook - National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, November 2023

Building winter shelters and utilizing natural windbreaks - John O'Meara with Ag Proud, November 13, 2023

Kentucky Master Naturalist Program launches spring 2024 training cohort - Jordan Strickler with UK Ag Communications, November 20, 2023

Kentucky Beef Cattle Newsletter "Off the Hoof" - UK Beef IRM Team, November 3, 2023


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