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Ag Weather Update

Matt Dixon, Meteorologist

UK Ag Weather Center

Updated 7-14-22

Finally...some decent rain

Kentucky saw some healthy rains this past week, but we’re definitely not out of the woods yet. Below is a look at those accumulations over the past 7 days. Much of the state saw 1-2+ inches, alleviating some short-term drought stress. Saying that, there were some folks that still missed out on the larger totals. This included portions of Western and North Central Kentucky. Just looking at some examples across this area, the Trigg County Mesonet station at Cadiz only recorded 0.28 inches. Hardinsburg (Breckinridge County) totaled 0.49 inches and Leitchfield came in at 0.38 inches. Not enough!

The latest update to the U.S. Drought Monitor mirrors these totals. The spatial area of Kentucky under a moderate drought was reduced by about 20% from the previous week, most notably across Southeastern Kentucky. On the other side of the spectrum, some of those areas mentioned above saw degradation on the map and moved into a severe drought. These areas, along with those still in a moderate drought, are running 1-3+ inches below normal over the past 30 days. This has also been the case across the Northern Bluegrass, which saw abnormally dry conditions introduced to the map this week. Bottom line, we got some rain, but we need more.

Speaking of dry conditions, the official climate data for the month of June was released on Monday by the National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI). Kentucky just saw it's 10th driest June ever recorded. Overall, the state averaged 2.65 inches, which is about 2 inches below normal. Just for perspective, June of 2012 was the third driest on record when the state only averaged 1.5 inches. In quite the reversal from recent years, the Bluegrass State has now seen four straight months of below normal precipitation.

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I mentioned above about “not being out of the woods”. Why? The past several days have been predominantly dry for most of the state and that trend looks to continue in the short term. Radar this afternoon (7/14) has shown some isolated showers across Central and Eastern KY, but nothing major and will likely diminish after sunset. This drier trend continues through Saturday with highs back into the upper 80s to middle 90s (warmest across Western KY). Luckily, humidity has been down this week and while there will be a slight uptick going into the weekend, it won’t be near as miserable compared to last week!

Rain chances return on Sunday and going into the early stages of next workweek. Multiple rounds of scattered coverage will be on the table and any storms will once again be capable of producing torrential rainfall. Below is a look at the forecast totals through next Tuesday evening from the Weather Prediction Center. There is simply not a whole lot of rainfall on this map! A good chunk of the state is forecast to stay under a half inch. 

Heat and humidity then returns midweek. Highs in the low to middle 90s will be on the table and combined with dew points back in the 70s, heat indices will likely jump into the triple digits again. This kind of heat will push the livestock heat stress index into the danger and emergency categories. Take precautions as necessary! Long range outlooks hint that the heat will remain for the remainder of July (image below), while confidence in precipitation isn’t as high. As I said earlier, last week’s rainfall was nice, but we definitely need more.

Related News from UK and Beyond

Kentucky Crop Progress and Condition Report - USDA NASS Kentucky Field Office, July 11, 2022

Drought-weary Kentucky farmers need a soaker - Aimee Nielson, UK Ag Communications - July 8, 2022

Corn and Soybean Field Day to showcase Central Kentucky Farms - Jordan Strickler, UK Ag Communications, July 13, 2022

If Drought Persists, Grasshoppers in Soybeans Might be a Pest to Cause Worry - Armando Falcon-Brindis, UK Entomology Research Associate, and Dr. Raul Villanueva, UK Entomology Extension Specialist, July 12, 2022

Managing Mosquitoes in Kentucky - Dr. Zachary DeVries, Entomology Extension Specialist, July 12, 2022

Carolina Grasshopper Consumed Hemp Seedlings in High Tunnels - Dr. Raul Villanueva, UK Entomology Extension Specialist, July 12, 2022

Insect & Mite Pests during Hot, Dry Weather - Dr. Ric Bessin, UK Entomology Extension Specialist, July 12, 2022


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