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Ag Weather Update

Matt Dixon, Meteorologist, UK Ag Weather Center

Updated September 20, 2021

Past Conditions 

Summer is coming to a close, but Mother Nature gave us one last week of heat and humidity. Highs generally topped out well into the 80s all of last week, significantly above normal high temperatures in the middle 70s to low 80s for this time of year. Western Kentucky even saw temperatures peak in the low 90s, with Madisonville and Paducah hitting highs of 92 on Monday. Dew points in the upper 60s to low 70s gave a humid feel to the air and pushed heat indices a bit higher.

Last week’s heat serves as a good reminder to practice heat safety regardless of the time of the year. Even though it's almost fall, heat can still sneak up you. I worked the UK game on Saturday and heard too many calls over dispatch about heat-related illnesses. We even had a referee start cramping up on the field. The bottom line – take it easy, stay cool, and hydrate!

A few rounds of rainfall accompanied the heat, one coming midweek and the other over the weekend. The state averaged about three quarters of an inch with the first round. Some areas saw much more than others, and that’s a trend we’ve seen a lot recently. The Louisville National Weather Service’s tweet below shows that some got over six inches of rainfall! Bardstown was hit hard, suffering substantial flood damage, with evacuations and water rescues. @KentuckyDrone (on Instagram and Twitter) posted eye-opening footage of the extensive flooding along Highway 31E.


The second round of rain arrived over the weekend and brought the weekly state average up to 1.10 inches, which is about a quarter inch above normal for this time of year. The highest totals for the week were ultimately seen across Central Kentucky, with many surpassing the two-inch mark. Some areas, such as the Northern Bluegrass, found themselves on the opposite side of spectrum, generally staying under a quarter inch (map below).


Data for the Past 7 Days 

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The 2021 harvest is on hold as we experience a wet first half of the workweek. As of 3PM, scattered to numerous showers are pushing northeast through Central and Eastern Kentucky. Many areas across the central portion of the state have already exceeded an inch since midnight. The active pattern will remain in place through Wednesday with a strong cold front slowly working through the area. This activity looks like it will arrive across Western Kentucky later tomorrow afternoon/evening and slowly work across the area through Wednesday. Below is a look at forecast accumulations over the next few days, with much of Kentucky seeing an additional inch. The highest accumulations are across the Northern Bluegrass.


Big changes arrive for the second half of the week as a northwest flow ushers much cooler and drier air into the Ohio Valley. Thursday and Thursday night will be quite cool, with highs in most areas only reaching the 60s for Thursday before dropping even more at night. Below are the forecast lows for Thursday morning from the National Weather Service, where many will likely not make it out of the 40s. Low 40s are in play for Eastern Kentucky! This will only be a temporary cool down, so don’t expect frosts anytime soon. We get back into the very comfortable 70s statewide by the weekend.


Outlooks hint at plenty of harvest opportunities over the next couple of weeks, showing higher confidence in below normal rainfall for the final week of September and start of October.

Read the Kentucky Ag Weather Synopsis

Ag Weather Related News

from around UK and Beyond

September 1 Kentucky Crop Production Forecast – USDA NASS, September 10, 2021

Are Your Fields at Risk for Lodging? Now is the Time to Identify High Risk Fields, What is Causing the Reduced Stalk Integrity, and Management Decisions for Harvest – Drs. Darcy Telenko and Dan Quinn, Purdue University, September 17, 2021


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