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Ag Weather Update

Matt Dixon, Meteorologist

UK Ag Weather Center

Updated 2-14-22

National Farm Machinery Show 2022

It’s back! Following the cancellation of the 2021 National Farm Machinery Show due to the COVID pandemic, it’s now making its grand return this week in 2022 (February 16-19). The Department of Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering has a booth each year and in 2022, we are dedicating our space to the resilience of those Western Kentuckians impacted by the December 10-11th tornado outbreak. The booth (#3444 in the West Wing) will feature donation opportunities, on-farm emergency preparedness ideas (generators, temporary fencing, and safe shelters), and information on the outbreak, itself. More information about the booth can be found in the following article from UK Ag Communications: UK booth to highlight tornado resilience at National Farm Machinery Show

While there are a number of donation opportunities out there, we decided to highlight the following three in our booth: the Kentucky Agriculture Relief Fund (KDA/KYFB), 4-Her's Helping 4-Her's (Kentucky 4-H Foundation), and the Team Western Kentucky Tornado Relief Fund (Governor Beshear's office). More information about each fund can be found below each graphic. This is a devastating situation for those involved and one that will take years to fix. While the initial charitable donations were great to see, we've already heard that funds are starting to run dry. If you would like to donate, click on the graphics below and also, PLEASE SHARE.


"The Kentucky Department of Agriculture (KDA) and the Kentucky Farm Bureau Federation are joining forces to raise funds and resources for agricultural-related recovery efforts for farmers affected by the widespread and devastating storms on December 10-11, 2021.


The Kentucky Agriculture Relief Fund is a cash donation portal managed by the Kentucky Farm Bureau Education Foundation. The donations will be used to support farmers and agribusinesses in the affected areas."


"Born out of the 2021 historic floods in Eastern Kentucky, the Kentucky 4-H’ers helping 4-H’ers is a relief fund setup by the Foundation to support 4-H members through major disasters such as a flood, tornado, loss of home due to fire, or serious illness. Donations made to the fund will be disbursed to meet the needs of 4-H’ers and their families. The disbursement of these fund will be determined by the Kentucky 4-H Foundation along with University and Extension Staff."


"Governor Beshear has established the Team Western Kentucky Tornado Relief Fund to assist those impacted by the tornados and the severe weather system overnight on December 10, 2021.

All donations to the Team Western Kentucky Tornado Relief Fund are tax-deductible and donors will receive a receipt for tax purposes after donating. If you wish to donate to the Relief Fund, please select an amount and click on the donate button below."

In addition, we're also collecting oral histories of the tornadic event in partnership with the UK Louis B. Nunn Center for Oral History. This process has already started and will continue during and after the show with interviews with National Weather Service meteorologists, UK Extension personnel, Kentucky Agricultural Commissioner Ryan Quarles, CAFE's Dean Nancy Cox, and many more. I want to personally send a big thank you to Commissioner Quarles, who provided an agricultural point of view in an interview last week (picture below). Drs. Josh Jackson and Morgan Hayes talked more about the project in the latest "Have You Herd?" podcast.

If you experienced the event yourself, we encourage you to contribute to the oral history by leaving a message using the Louis B. Nunn Center's hotline at 833-859-7272. 


Past Conditions

The weather pattern this past week was quiet (knock on wood). Kentucky saw multiple cold fronts pass through the area, but for the most part, the boundaries were starved of moisture. In the end, most of the state didn’t record anything in the way of precipitation and if areas did, it was below a tenth of an inch. We’ll take it following the 1.5-3 inches of soaking rainfall we saw the week before. 

Multiple frontal passages led to a roller coaster pattern in temperatures. The most abrupt change came late in the work week. Highs on Friday rose into the mid to upper 60s behind breezy southwest winds. Many across the eastern half of the state saw gusts top 40 mph (image below, tweeted by NWS Louisville and courtesy of the Kentucky Mesonet). Combined with low relative humidity, that led to an elevated fire danger across southeast Kentucky. Behind a strong cold front, northwest winds then limited highs to the 20s on Saturday.


Data for the Past 7 Days 

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Temperatures are on the uphill climb in the short term. Winds turn to the south/southeast tomorrow and in combination with mostly sunny skies, we’ll see temperatures increase into the 50s, and even the low 60s across the western half of Kentucky. Those winds pick up on Wednesday with some gusts approaching 30 mph, kicking highs up into the 60s across the majority of Kentucky.

Unfortunately, this warmth is a precursor to a storm system set to move through the area Wednesday night and Thursday. Widespread showers will accompany this system with total accumulations expected in the 1-2 inch range for most of the state (see map below). We've had a decent period of dry conditions since our last major rainfall event last week, so flooding potential will run low. Storm severity is still up in the air being a few days out, but RIGHT NOW, the highest threat appears to be to our south/southwest, across portions of the Tennessee and Lower Mississippi valleys. Saying that, don’t let your guard down and stay tuned. Outside of any storms, expect another breezy day with the possibility of wind gusts topping 40 mph.


We could see some snow on the backside of the system going through Thursday night, but nothing impactful. After a cool and dry Friday, temperatures moderate upward again over the weekend. Looking into the second half of February, outlooks are leaning toward above normal temperatures and precipitation winning out. The state is already running above normal in regards to precipitation through the first couple months of winter. Through the end of January, the state has averaged 9.35 inches over the past couple months, which is about an inch above normal over that time span. This does not include the above normal precipitation we’ve seen in February, thus far.  


Related News from UK and Beyond

The long road ahead: Rebuilding and recovery in Western Kentucky - Corrie McCroskey, The Kentucky Kernel, February 10, 2022

Unique research could improve indoor equine and livestock environment - Aimee Nielson, UK Ag Communications, February 8, 2022

No-tillage agriculture: A legacy born in Kentucky - Katie Pratt, UK Ag Communications, February 9, 2022

February Edition of Kentucky Forage News - February 2, 2022


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