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Ag Weather Update

Matt Dixon, Meteorologist, UK Ag Weather Center

Updated September 13, 2021

Past Conditions 

The end of August gave us the close of meteorological summer. Looking back, it was officially the 10th wettest summer on record for Kentucky with data going back to 1895 (table below). The state averaged 16.60 inches, which is over three inches above normal. Despite having significant periods of dry conditions, the state average still ran above normal all three months. Looking around the region, we’re not alone in the southeast with exceptionally wet conditions. Tennessee and Georgia matched us, while Mississippi and Alabama saw their wettest and second wettest summer on record, respectively (map below). The 10th wettest summer was accompanied by above normal temperatures, but only by a slight margin.


Looking at this past week, weather conditions ran mostly dry across the area. The only exceptions came Wednesday with the passage of a cold front and very spotty, light activity across North Central Kentucky on Saturday. The boundary’s passage on Wednesday was accompanied by a band of showers and embedded storms, primarily impacting Central Kentucky and locations to the east. Accumulations were generally less than a quarter inch, although some areas under an embedded thunderstorm ended up closer to a half inch or more. Overall, the state averaged 0.17 inches for the week, but Western Kentucky missed out on most of Wednesday’s frontal passage and only averaged seven hundredths.

In good news, producers had an excellent dry window to harvest corn or a fall cutting of hay. Following the Wednesday frontal passage, the rest of the week ran dry with low humidity. Temperatures ended the workweek on the cool side behind a northerly flow pattern. Highs both Thursday and Friday were in the middle 70s to around 80, slightly below seasonable norms. We even had a handful of locations drop to the upper 40s for lows. We then went on a moderate uphill climb over the weekend with highs back in the low to middle 80s statewide by Sunday. Luckily, we aren’t seeing the humidity that we saw in August.


Data for the Past 7 Days 

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We’ve started out the workweek with warm conditions in place. As of 4PM on Monday, the Kentucky Mesonet shows most of the state in the middle to upper 80s. Some locations across Western Kentucky are even touching 90. Unfortunately, this heat is here to stay — for most of the second half of September. Southerly flow will keep similar temperatures in place tomorrow, before a cold front arrives midweek. This southerly pattern will usher more moisture into the region, marking a return to summer-like humidity. The humidity will stick around through the upcoming week, but iwill not be as oppressive compared to the hot and humid stretch we had in August.

The cold front will bring renewed rain chances to the region starting tomorrow afternoon and lasting through Wednesday. Tomorrow’s coverage is expected to be isolated to scattered across primarily the western half of Kentucky. If you have hay on the ground, try to get it up today, but tomorrow remains a possibility. The question is — are you feeling lucky? The most significant activity looks as though it will pass through the region late Tuesday night and into Wednesday. Below is a look at accumulations through Wednesday evening from the Weather Prediction Center. A quarter to three quarters plus is on the table for much of the state, outside of Southeastern Kentucky.


Confidence in rainfall over the second half of the week isn’t high right now, with models showing dry and wet days. Right now, I would lean toward daily chances extending into the weekend, but coverage and accumulations are still a low confidence forecast. Stay tuned as we head through the workweek. A link to the Ag Weather Synopsis can be found below.

Temperatures will likely run near to above normal in the low to middle 80s over the second half of the week. This heat looks like it will stick around next week. Outlooks are showing some VERY high confidence in above normal temperatures (below). Normal high temperatures for this time of year range from the middle 70s to low 80s, while lows average in the middle 50s across the state.

Read the Kentucky Ag Weather Synopsis

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Assessing the U.S. Climate in August 2021 – National Centers for Environmental Information, September 10, 2021

Fall Armyworm Update – Drs. Ric Bessin and Jonathan Larson, UK Entomology Extension Specialists, September 7, 2021


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