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Ag Weather Update

Matt Dixon, Meteorologist

UK Ag Weather Center

Updated 8-9-22

Eastern KY Flooding - July 2022

Kentucky is susceptible to a wide range of natural disasters, including severe weather, ice storms, drought, and wildfires (just to name a few). Unfortunately, this past year has been exceptionally tough for many Kentuckians with two of the more unprecedented disasters that the state has ever seen. First was the tornadoes of December 2021. Now, we include the exceptional flooding across Eastern KY. Below is a look at the precipitation totals over a 48-hour period between July 26th and July 28th, courtesy of the National Weather Service in Jackson, KY. A large portion of these totals fell over a few hours.

The National Weather Service in Jackson has a very informative writeup on the event, including a climatological context, located here. One key point they mentioned was that some areas saw radar-estimated totals of 14 to 16 inches over a five day period that week. How rare is this amount of rainfall within a 5-day period? It was a 1 in 1,000 year rain event, equivalent to what was seen in St. Louis the day before.

Now....we look ahead. Loss has been tremendous in these Eastern KY communities and once again, fellow Kentuckians need help! Just like the tornadoes of December 10/11th, some have lost everything. I've listed some ways to help with the links below, but this is obviously not a complete list. There's many other options out there. I, myself, just bought a Kentucky Strong T-shirt from 'Shop Local Kentucky', where 100% of net proceeds go to the Team Eastern KY Flood Relief Fund.

4-H'ers helping 4H'ers Relief Fund

Kentucky Department of Agriculture, Kentucky Farm Bureau Federation team up to support Eastern Kentucky flood victims

Team Eastern Kentucky Flood Relief Fund

Kentucky Flood Relief (American Red Cross)

The Mountain Cattlemen Association is also teaming up with some of the area extension offices to coordinate a relief effort by gathering and distributing farm supplies. More information in the image below.

Resources for those impacted

UK CAFE Flood Resources

Kentucky State Government Flood Resources

Flooding Concerns and Cattle - What to Do when the Water Recedes - Dr. Jeff Lehmkuhler, UK Extension Beef Cattle Specialist, and and Michelle Arnold, UK Extension Veterinarian, August edition of Off the Hoof, a Kentucky Beef Cattle Newsletter

Flood Damage to Corn in 2022 - Dr. Chad Lee, UK Extension Grain Crops Specialist, July 29, 2022

UK specialists offer flood clean-up strategies - Aimee Nielson, UK Ag Communications, August 2, 2022

4th Wettest July on Record

After a dry start to summer, the pattern has flipped the past month. Over the past 30 days, data at the Ag Weather Center shows the state has averaged 7 inches, which is roughly 3 inches above normal. Saying that, the range is quite large. Below is a look at accumulations across the state over that time span. While a large area of SE KY has seen more than 10 inches, portions of the Purchase area are still struggling (sub-3 inches). The high in our database sits at 15.64 inches, recorded at Jackson 3SE. The lowest total was seen at Paducah Barkley Regional Airport with a value of 2.83 inches.

Looking back at the month of July, Kentucky saw it's 4th wettest July ever recorded (128 year record)(precipitation ranks across the U.S. below). The state averaged 7.93 inches over that time frame. Interestingly, five Julys in the previous decade have placed in the top-20 wettest July's on record. 2015 and 2016 sit at #1 and 2 with averages of 9.37 and 8.39, respectively. 2021 sits at #19, while 2013 comes in at 13.

The wet month has alleviated drought concerns for much of the Commonwealth, although there will be some lasting impacts (corn yields). I've included the latest update from the U.S. Drought Monitor below. Most of the state had any mention of abnormally dry conditions or drought removed from the map. The one exception remains across the Purchase area of Western KY that has missed out on larger totals the past month. Most of this region remains in either a moderate or severe drought.

Below is a look at the class change in the U.S. Drought Monitor over the past four weeks. Any green shades indicate improvement, while yellow/orange shades show deterioration. KY has improved drastically across most of the state. Keep in mind that on July 5th, over half of Kentucky was considered in a moderate drought. Places like Missouri and Southern Iowa are going in the opposite direction.

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More rain is on the way for most of the Bluegrass State over the next couple days. Showers and storms are starting to pop as of 2PM this afternoon (8/9) within a very humid and unstable airmass. Any storm will be capable of producing very heavy rainfall and with slow storm motions in place, localized flash flooding will once again be on the table. Look for coverage to grow through the afternoon and into the evening hours. Rain chances then persist through much of Wednesday. This looks to be your typical summertime pattern. Some will see more than an inch or two, while others may not see much. Nonetheless, a flood watch is in effect through Wednesday evening (8/10) for mainly the eastern half of Kentucky where localized flash flooding is most likely.

Following some lingering showers on Thursday across E-KY, BIG changes arrive for the end of the workweek and into the weekend. In quite the 180-degree turn from what we've seen most of summer. we're actually looking at an extended period of below normal temperatures and lower humidity. The temperature outlooks below hint that this "cooler" trend will continue into the third week of August. How about highs in the upper 70s to middle 80s? I don't think we'll complain! Rain chances then start to return by early next week.

Related News from UK and Beyond

Kentucky Crop Progress and Condition Report - USDA NASS Kentucky Field Office, August 8, 2022


Kentucky Forage News - UK Forage Specialists, July 31, 2022

NOAA still expects above-normal Atlantic hurricane season - National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, August 4, 2022

Western Kentucky tornadoes spur engineering undergrad research - Lindsey Piercy, August 3, 2022

August edition of the KY Monthly Climate Perspective on Drought and Hydrologic Conditions Webinar Series - Kentucky Climate Center, August 4, 2022

Considerations for harvesting drought-stressed corn to feed to cattle - Donna Amaral-Phillips, UK Extension Dairy Specialist, Jeff Lehmkuhler, UK Extension Beef Specialist, and Chad Lee, UK Extension Agronomist, July 26, 2022

Off the Hoof: Kentucky Beef Cattle Newsletter - UK Beef IRM Team, August 1, 2022

Have you Herd? Podcast, Episode 34 Fall Reseeding/Overseeding Plans - Drs. Josh Jackson and Morgan Hayes, UK Extension Livestock Systems Specialists, June 14, 2022

KY Dairy Notes (August 2022) - UK Department of Animal and Food Sciences


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