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Ag Weather Update

Matt Dixon, Meteorologist

UK Ag Weather Center

Updated 12-7-22

Drought persisted through November, but we're taking a turn for the better in December

Happy Wednesday, folks! We've finally dove into a much needed wet pattern after what had been an extremely dry fall for the Bluegrass State. Preliminarily speaking, Kentucky only averaged 2.70 inches for the month of November, which would mark a third straight month of below normal precipitation. If we add this number to the state average for September and October, we get a total of 5.89 inches over the entirety of the fall season. Even though this is typically our driest time of year in Kentucky, 2022 took it to another level. In fact, 5.89 would rank very close to a top-10 driest fall on record for the state (data going back to 1895).

Some were well below that 5.89 average, most notably across Western Kentucky. I attached two maps below, the top showing observed precipitation for the 90-day period and the other displaying departure from normal precipitation. A large portion of Western Kentucky ran 6+ inches below normal over that time span, leading to numerous hydrological impacts.

The dry fall of 2022 has been quite the change compared to previous fall seasons. Below is a scatterplot I put together, based on the state average temperature and precipitation total for each fall season going back to 1991. These years are then divided into four quadrants, based on the state's thirty year climatological average of precipitation (blue line) and temperature (orange line) for the three month period. In addition to 2022, I highlighted the previous five years in red. Fall of 2022 sits with some of our driest falls on record, including 2005, 1998, and 2016. The previous 5 years all lie predominantly in the upper right hand quadrant, containing fall seasons with above normal temperatures and precipitation.

Luckily, drought improvement has already commenced with a wet week in progress. Below is a look at accumulated rainfall over the past 48 hours, courtesy of the Kentucky Mesonet. Many locations across South Central KY have already topped 2 inches. Tompkinsville, in Monroe County, even sits at 3.39!

We're not close to being done, either! Although we've hit a dry window this afternoon (12/7), several more rounds of rainfall are on the way. The next round arrives tomorrow, followed by another on Saturday. Overall, we're looking at another half to 1+ inch across the southern half of Kentucky (most falling with tomorrow's round), but those totals taper as you get farther north into the Bluegrass area.

While still a ways out, the most notable event looks to occur next Wednesday, including the threat of severe weather. This system has the potential to bring another soaking rain our way. Below is a look at the 7-day forecast rainfall accumulations through next Wednesday evening. Yes...that is 3+ inches for Western KY, but once again, we're still a week out. We will see some changes, but the setup is looking good for drought improvement over the next couple weeks.

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Related News from UK and Beyond

Kentucky Crop Progress and Condition Report - USDA NASS Kentucky Field Office, November 28, 2022

December edition of the Kentucky Monthly Climate Perspective on Drought and Hydrological Conditions, Kentucky Climate Center, December 1, 2022

Eastern Kentucky Toy Drive - First Lady Britainy Beshear

Trees bring hope, healing and a look to the future for Western Kentucky tornado victims - Toni Riley, Hoptown Chronical, November 2, 2022

Kentucky Forage News- December 1, 2022

Kentucky Beef Cattle Newsletter "Off the Hoof", Beef IRM Team, December 5, 2022

Winter Feeding and Management Practices for Dairy Calves - Donna M. Amaral-Phillips

How Bugs Get Ready for Winter - Dr. Jonathan Larson, UK Extension Entomology Specialist, November 29, 2022

Are You Dreaming of a White Christmas? - National Centers for Environmental Information, December 12, 2016

Damaging 2022 Atlantic hurricane season draws to a close - National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, November 29, 2022


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