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Ag Weather Update

Matt Dixon, Meteorologist, UK Ag Weather Center

Updated August 3, 2021

Past Conditions 

Did someone switch the season? Monday and Tuesday have been extraordinarily cool and comfortable, following exceptionally warm and humid days last week. Highs peaked in the upper 80s to middle 90s between Tuesday and Thursday. Combined with high humidity, peak heat indices were typically in the 100 to 110 range across the western half of the state. Below is a look at those heat indices from the Kentucky Mesonet on Thursday at around 4PM Central. This heat pushed the livestock heat stress index into the “Danger” category during the afternoon and evening hours. Some folks across the western half of the state even entered the “Emergency” category.

Luckily, we saw that heat diminish for the second half of the week, accompanied by some rounds of showers and storms. The most significant activity occurred Thursday night/Friday morning when a large region of Eastern Kentucky received 2+ inches. Some topped the four-inch mark, which led to significant flooding. The high totals were not widely spread across the rest of Kentucky. In fact, a large number of stations across Central Kentucky went a second straight week seeing very little to no rainfall (typically under a tenth of an inch)(map below).

If you are experiencing dry conditions, I would really appreciate feedback on any agricultural impacts that you’re seeing at your farm. For example, are pastures stressed, or is corn starting to curl? Maybe your crops are doing just fine, which is also good information to have. You can email those impacts to or use the Kentucky Drought and Hydrologic Impact Reporter.

For Central Kentucky, there are deficits in the 1- to 2-inch range over the past couple weeks (map below) and shallow soil moisture profiles are taking a downhill turn. I’m not raising an alarm yet, but it’s something to watch moving forward (more below).

Data for the Past 7 Days 

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Unfortunately, we are looking at another dry week ahead. For the most part, the western half of Kentucky is expected to stay dry, which would mark a third straight week of below normal rainfall for these areas. The best rain chances look to remain across Eastern Kentucky, but only topping out with scattered coverage on Tuesday and Wednesday. I included a few graphs below showing precipitation chances over the next 7 days for a few locations across the state. The mostly dry conditions will be accompanied by a return to summer heat by the weekend with highs back in the 90s.

Read the Kentucky Ag Weather Synopsis

Need Weather/Climate Data?

In the next few weeks, I’ll focus on resources where readers can access weather data across the Bluegrass State and in one case, beyond. The first is the Kentucky Mesonet, part of the Kentucky Climate Center at Western Kentucky University. The Kentucky Mesonet consists of over 70 research-quality weather stations across the Bluegrass State. Some Mesonet stations were established as far back as 2007, and more are being added today. In recent years, the Mesonet has added to its suite of instruments. Fifty-six stations are now equipped with soil temperature and moisture sensors, while extra temperatures sensors are being added to a select few to monitor inversions. Data can be accessed at the daily/monthly time scales, all the way down to every 5 minutes. Soil moisture and temperature data can also be found here. Be sure to check out Kentucky Mesonet and follow on Facebook and Twitter.

Related News from UK and Beyond

Registration for August 2021 edition of the Kentucky Monthly Climate Perspective on Drought and Hydrologic Conditions - Kentucky Climate Center

Watch Pastures for True Armyworm – Dr. Ric Bessin, UK Extension Entomologist, August 2, 2021

Forage Timely Tips: August – UK Forage News, August 2, 2021

July/August edition of Kentucky Fruit Facts – UK Horticulture Department


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