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Ag Weather Update

Matt Dixon, Meteorologist

UK Ag Weather Center

Updated 11-8-23 at 5:00 PM EST

End of the 2023 growing season

Hey, everyone! It's hard to ask for better temperatures in early November! Basically the whole state has jumped into the upper 70s to low 80s today, which is roughly 15 to 20 degrees above normal for this time of year! Several daily record highs have already been broken.

It's quite the 180 degree turn from the cold snap last week. Most of the state saw extreme low temperatures in the low to middle 20s. Some even dipped into the teens! This included the Cumberland and Harlan County Mesonet stations on the morning of November 1st, which both hit 17.5 degrees (chart above, courtesy of the Kentucky Mesonet)!

Bottom line, this was a killing freeze for Kentucky agriculture. Sure...turf and pastures will still show some growth, but for everything else, it's the end of the line for the winter season. In doing so, the National Weather Service will NOT issue anymore frost advisories or freeze warnings until spring of 2024. Just as a reminder, the NWS only issues these headlines when agriculture is susceptible. If they issued all winter season, these headlines would get redundant and we don't want folks to ignore them when frost/freeze protection is needed come spring.

October Recap

The official data for October 2023 was just released and as you already guessed, it was a dry and warm month for the Bluegrass State. Overall, the state averaged 2.43 inches of rainfall, which is about an inch below normal. This number would have been a lot lower if not for the passage of a frontal system on the 29th and 30th, which led to accumulations of 1.5 to 3+ inches for Western KY and up into the Bluegrass.

Looking at departure-from-normal rainfall, the most significant deficits were found across the Lake Cumberland Region and extending into Southeastern KY. Some ran 2-3 inches below normal for the month. Unfortunately, wildfires have began to rage across this portion of the state as drought conditions continue to intensify. Several burn bans are now in place (see list, here), in addition to a State of Emergency in Harlan County.

Forecast & Outlooks

Rain chances return tomorrow and Friday with the passage of a cold front. Saying that, accumulations are limited (map below) with the highest totals of a quarter inch+ across the southern half of KY. Good news for some wildfire suppression, but we need more. Unfortunately, conditions look run mainly dry through the early stages of next work week. Outlooks (maps below) favor this dry trend sticking around through the middle stages of November. At the end of the day, the first half of November looks very similar to the first half of October, with very dry conditions in place. Through the 7th, most everyone has yet to record a drop in November. Add it all up and while rainfall at the end of October improved the Mississippi River situation, we'll see river levels once again falling below "low-water" thresholds over the next couple weeks.

Looking at temperatures, we cool down following the passage of the aforementioned cold front, but nothing too chilly. Highs in the 50s look common between Friday and Monday. We'll dip into the 30s at night, but most look to stay above the freezing mark. Moving forward, as seen in the outlook, we're in line to see another period of above normal temperatures mid-month. Look for highs back in the 60s and possibly hitting 70. Normal high temperatures for this time of year run in the mid to upper 50s.

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Related News from UK and Beyond

Kentucky Crop Progress and Condition Report - USDA NASS Kentucky Field Office, November 6, 2023

El Nino Impacts and Outlook for the Midwest Region - National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration - November 2, 2023

Mississippi River Level Impacts on Basis: 2022 Vs. 2023 - Dr. Grant Gardner, UK Agricultural Economics, October 30, 2023

Considerations for Drying High Moisture Corn - Ohio State University Extension, November 6, 2023

S(no)w pain, S(no)w gain: How does El Niño affect snowfall over North America? - Michelle L'Heureux and Brian Brettschneider with, October 26, 2023

Spotted Lanternfly Has Arrived in Kentucky - Dr. Jonathan Larson, UK Extension Entomology Specialist, October 31, 2023

Kentucky Forage News - October 31, 2023


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