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Ag Weather Update

Matt Dixon, Meteorologist, UK Ag Weather Center 

Updated July 13, 2021

Past Conditions 

For the most part, Mother Nature has been kind to Kentucky agriculture this year. To demonstrate how kind, I’m sharing the tables from the July 12 edition of the Kentucky Crop Progress and Condition Report. Most of Kentucky crops remain predominantly in or on both sides of the "Good" category. A map generated from the Iowa Environmental Mesonet shows the percentage of corn rated in the good to excellent category based on the most recent crop report across the United States. Kentucky sits in a pretty good spot with Indiana and Ohio compared to the past ten-year average. Those numbers diminish quickly as you get up into the Dakotas and Minnesota, which are currently experiencing very dry conditions. In fact, as noted by the U.S. Drought Monitor, a large percentage of Upper Plains states are in a severe drought right now.

Crop Conditions


Corn Conditions


Unlike those states in the Upper Plains Region, Kentucky has gotten rain, rain, and more rain. It has been a very wet start to July, with daily rounds of showers and storms. Through July 12, the state averaged 3.46 inches, which is 1.77 inches above normal. For the most part, rain showers have been widespread. We started the week with isolated to scattered coverage but that coverage intensified over the second half. Activity really increased on Thursday with the passage of a cold front and then again over the weekend with multiple rounds of showers and storms in place. Overall, the state averaged 1.67 inches for the week, and a large number of locations topped the two-inch mark (map below).  

Data for the Past 7 Days 


7-Day Observed Precipitation 

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As I write this on Tuesday morning (7/13), scattered showers are progressing across portions of Central Kentucky and points to the east. Models indicate that we will see an uptick in coverage this afternoon, mainly across the same areas. If you're ready for a break from rain, the best chances are going to be Wednesday and Thursday, which both feature only isolated to widely scattered coverage, with most staying dry.

Activity picks up again at the end of the workweek and into the weekend as a cold front approaches and eventually stalls across the area. This will set up the possibility of multiple rounds of rainfall, peaking in coverage and intensity during daylight hours. The Weather Prediction Center forecasts more significant accumulations on the way, with 1 to 2 inches in play for much of Kentucky over the next week.


Models are hinting at drier conditions next week, along with cooler temperatures and less humidity in place. This is supported by the current temperature outlooks showing higher confidence in below normal temperatures below.

Read the Kentucky Ag Weather Synopsis

Don't Cross That Flooded Road!

During the summer, very humid air masses can lead to rain falling in buckets. This torrential activity can lead to localized flooding, especially for areas that see repeated rounds. This brings me to my point: Crossing a flooded road is very dangerous. Folks will drive into standing water, thinking it’s not too deep, and the next thing you know, the car is floating. Please heed the National Weather Service slogan, “Turn around, don’t drown.” Flooding accounts for the highest percentage of thunderstorm-related fatalities on a yearly basis, most of which occur in vehicles (NWS - Flood Safety).

During heavy rains and flooding, it’s very difficult to judge the actual depth of the water or even the structural integrity of the road underneath. Is there even a road still there?! You can see in the infographic from the NWS below how dangerous moving water is. Six inches of fast-moving water can knock you off your feet. Twelve inches can float a small car. Eighteen to twenty-four will float an SUV/truck. Even if it takes extra time to get to your destination, it is ALWAYS worth that time to find an alternative route!


Related News from UK and Beyond

July 2021 ENSO update: La Nina Watch, Tom Di Liberto, July 8, 2021

Managing Mosquitoes in Kentucky, Zachary DeVries, UK Entomology Extension Specialist, July 6, 2021

Chicago's Strange Problem, New York Times, July 8, 2021


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