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Ag Weather Update

Matt Dixon, Meteorologist

UK Ag Weather Center

Updated 6-14-22

Toasty June ahead

I think it’s safe to say that summer has arrived! Numerous locations across the state saw records broken yesterday (6/13) with extreme heat in place. Below is a look at maximum temperatures on the day according to the Kentucky Mesonet. Everyone was pretty well in the low to middle 90s, but some folks across Western KY hit the upper 90s. Calhoun was the “winner”…. or maybe the better term is “loser”, at nearly 98 degrees. 

Temperatures in the 90s are bad in itself, but then we have to take into account the moisture in the air, dewpoints. This is what has made it feel extremely soupy yesterday, like you were walking through a wall of water. Dewpoints in this airmass have been running in the mid to upper 70s. I even saw some hit 80. Anything over 70 and it gets extremely humid and oppressive to be outside (tropical air). The extra moisture makes it feel hotter and gives us the heat index (what it actually feels like). Most everyone saw peak heat indices between 100 and 110 degrees at some point yesterday. Some across Western Kentucky even went well past 110!

Unfortunately, as you are probably well aware at this point, the heat is sticking around a while longer. The entirety of the state is under either a Heat Advisory or Excessive Heat Warning through Wednesday. Air temperatures will actually take a slight step higher today and tomorrow. Believe we could see some hit the triple digits. Heat indices will continue to peak in the 100-to-110-degree range. Don’t take this heat lightly and take care of yourself! Heat illness can sneak up quickly. Below are some of the signs to look for in terms of heat exhaustion or stroke. Be sure to wear light clothing, take breaks, and drink plenty of fluids if you’re working outside!

Livestock heat stress will likely peak in the EMERGENCY category each day. Mitigation measures will be needed. Aimee Nielson, UK Agriculture Communications Specialist, summarized these measures for a variety of animals in an article from 2020, here. Unfortunately, we are looking at little recovery at night. It’s not great when I can walk outside at 1AM and break a sweat! 

Don’t forget about those pets, too! Bring them inside if at all possible!

Heat continues into the latter half of the workweek, before a cold front makes it more comfortable over the weekend with some northerly flow in place. Saying that, the long-range outlooks for rest of June (below) hint the heat will return. Remember, darker shades of red indicate higher confidence by the forecasters in above normal temperatures. Bottom line, highs in the 90s will be common. 

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Dry forecast ahead

Most crops have some moisture to work with after last Monday’s (6/6) widespread rains. A large area extending through Central Kentucky and up into the Bluegrass saw 1 to 2+ inches. Some topped 3 across South Central Kentucky. This was followed by some additional rounds the rest of the workweek, but coverage was lacking. Not everyone saw higher totals. Some only saw between a quarter and half inch over the past 7 days (map below).

Unfortunately, the heat over the next couple days will be accompanied by dry conditions and prospects for rain don’t look great the rest of the upcoming week. The only chances look to arrive over the latter half of the work week with the passage of the aforementioned cold front. Saying that, coverage and total accumulations look limited. Bottom line, at this point, there is a very solid probability many don’t see any rainfall this week. Combine that aspect with increased evapotranspiration and it doesn’t equal a great scenario, especially for those areas that missed out on the higher totals last Monday. Below is a look at the current forecast totals from the Weather Prediction Center over the next week. Once again, little to nothing.

Sure, this will speed along wheat harvest and hay producers needing another window will benefit, but we need a good rain sometime soon. Unfortunately, I don't see any good signs for one. As I mentioned above, outlooks hint at heat returning next week and staying with the area through the remainder of June. Looking at precipitation outlooks (below), they are showing higher confidence in below normal precipitation. Definitely not a combination we want to see as corn enters some sensitive growth stages to water stress.

I’m not sounding the alarm yet, but everything seems to point toward drought conditions ahead. Let’s hope this forecast changes for the better and we get some timely rains moving forward, but it don't look great. Stay tuned!

Related News from UK and Beyond

Kentucky Crop Progress and Condition Report - USDA NASS Kentucky Field Office, June 14, 2022

Tips for Drying & Storing Wheat - Dr. Sam McNeil, UK Agricultural Engineer Extension Specialist, May 31, 2022

June edition of the Kentucky Monthly Climate Perspective on Drought and Hydrologic Conditions - Kentucky Climate Center, June 2, 2022

IPM 20-point Checklist for Controlling Insects in Stored Wheat - Dr. Sam McNeill, UK Agricultural Engineer Extension Specialist, and Raul Villanueva, UK Entomology Extension Specialist

Spongy Moth Traps Have Been Deployed - Dr. Jonathan L. Larson, UK Entomology Extension Specialist, June 7, 2022


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