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Ag Weather Update

Matt Dixon, Meteorologist

UK Ag Weather Center

Updated 4-20-23 at 6:30PM EDT

Pattern shift on the horizon

Happy Thursday, folks! Thought I'd send out a quick update with a pattern shift on the horizon. Before we get to that, let's take a look at the month of April, thus far.

April continues to run on the dry side across the Bluegrass State. Below is the latest look at observed precipitation through April 20th. Overall, the state has only averaged 1.31 inches, which is almost 1.5 inches below normal. Temperature-wise, it continues to run warm in Kentucky. In fact, Wednesday and Thursday high temperatures jumped into the low to mid 80s once again. Through April 20th, our average temperature across the state is running about 4 degrees above normal. How significant is this number? If the month ended today, we'd be looking at a top-10 warmest April ever recorded.

That being said, we still have another 10 days left in the month and a pattern shift is on the way. Tonight and tomorrow (4/21) will feature a pretty significant rainfall event for most of the state as a cold front sinks into the area. Showers and storms will reach Western KY around 9PM CDT and slowly push east tomorrow and tomorrow night. The latest model runs point toward the highest totals across Western and Central KY, in the 1-2 inch range. Totals diminish farther east, but a half to 1 inch still looks like a good bet. Below is a look at those forecast accumulations over the next couple days.

The big change comes over the weekend behind the cold front. Temperatures will run below normal over the upcoming week, but nothing too significant. After jumping in the 80s over the past couple days, we'll see highs dip back into the 50s and 60s.

Looking at lows, Sunday and Monday mornings will feature the coldest temperatures, dipping into the low to mid 30s. Some low lying and sheltered spots could hit the upper 20s. Frost advisories will likely be on the table. Below is a look at the National Weather Service forecast low temperatures for Sunday night/Monday morning, most likely the cooler night of the two mentioned above.

If you have strawberries in bloom, warm-season vegetables, or any other vulnerable vegetation, you'll want to take protective measures. Arguably, the easiest measure is using plastic or fabric row covers or "garden blankets". Make sure the plants are completely covered and the cloth is in contact with the surface. Consider placing some rocks around the edges of the blanket to "anchor" it. You're ultimately trying to trap heat. In addition, do so before the sun goes down and then remove the next morning after it's warmed up. More info on the subject available, here.

Planting row crops? May consider taking the foot off the gas. Soil temperatures are definitely going to take a tumble!

Outside of temperatures, we'll stay dry until chances reenter the forecast midway through next workweek. Looking farther out and in quite the turn from last week's update.... outlooks are now trending cooler for the end of April and start of May. The solid blue shades below indicate fairly high confidence in below normal temperatures sticking around. It's not to say we can't have some warm days here and there, but overall, the Climate Prediction Center is leaning toward a seasonably cool couple weeks ahead. Just to put in perspective, normal highs for late April/early May are in the low to mid 70s. Normal lows run in the upper 40s to low 50s. Bottom line, don't look for any major freeze events.

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