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Ag Weather Update

Matt Dixon, Meteorologist

UK Ag Weather Center

Updated October 4, 2021

Past Conditions 

The calendar has turned to October and the growing season is on its last leg. Overall, the weather pattern has been rather kind to Kentucky this year, with little severe weather or long periods of drought (knock on wood). Preliminary data showed the state averaged 4.60 inches and 68.7 degrees for the month of September. This amount of rain is almost an inch more than what we typically see at this time of year, while the temperature average is slightly below normal. This is our fourth straight month with above normal rainfall. However, these numbers don’t tell the whole story. The rainfall average was pushed higher by accumulations of 4 to 6+ inches through Central Kentucky. Other areas, like Western and Southeastern Kentucky, were in the 1.5-to-3-inch range (map below). 


Some of those areas that got less rainfall did see rain this past week. Overall, the state averaged 0.93 inches, which fell mostly over the past weekend. The hardest rain fell on Sunday, with some pockets of moderate to heavy rainfall producing totals of greater than 1.5 inches. This ended up being a widespread event with most seeing at least a half inch, good news for soil moisture recharge ahead of winter wheat planting. While the rain may have halted fall harvest for some folks across the state, harvest progress jumped last week in the latest update of the Kentucky Crop Progress and Condition Report. The workweek followed a dry and mild pattern. Highs consistently rose into the upper 70s to middle 80s under mostly sunny skies and a southerly wind flow.


I think Mother Nature is a UK fan. I was at the game Saturday monitoring the weather and during the fourth quarter, we had a short-lived spurt of light showers just before Florida entered the red zone in the closing minutes. A Florida player caught the ball and took it into the end zone, but after review, his knee touched the ground after he slipped on the turf! Here is my picture after the game. GO CATS!


Data for the Past 7 Days 

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The active pattern from this weekend will stick around for most of the upcoming week. I’m not saying it will be a washout, but you’ll need to keep an eye on the radar. The focus will revolve around what meteorologists call a “cut-off upper-level low.” This is basically a disturbance that is “cut off” from the jet stream or the highest winds aloft that would typically move the system quickly through the area. These systems are slow movers, which means prolonged periods of cloudy and wet conditions. I’ve included a model map below that shows this cut-off low centered on Arkansas at 5AM on Wednesday, well displaced from the jet stream (the black line flowing through the Western U.S. and east through Canada). This map is about 3.5 miles up in the atmosphere!


This low will keep daily chances of rain in the forecast through much of the workweek. I’ve included a look at daily rain chances for Caldwell, Fayette, and Breathitt counties below. You can find a graph for your own county by accessing your Point Ag Forecast using the blue map on the UK Ag Weather Center’s homepage. The highest coverage and accumulations should arrive on Wednesday/Thursday and then taper from there. Forecast rainfall accumulations from the Weather Prediction Center hint at the highest accumulations over the next five days across South Central Kentucky with 1.25+ inches on the table (map below). Once the low passes, models hint at a drier weekend ahead. Temperatures in the 70s looks common throughout, with a possible uptick into the low 80s this upcoming weekend.


Looking further out, outlooks suggest near normal precipitation going into the middle of the month. Climatologically, this is the driest month of the year for Kentucky, with the state only averaging 3.51 inches. Temperatures are another story; outlooks hint at high confidence in above normal temperatures sticking around (maps below). Mid to late October typically brings the first frost of the season in Kentucky, but these maps paint a different picture.

Read the Kentucky Ag Weather Synopsis

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from around UK and Beyond

Kentucky Showcases Autumn through Many Colors - Jordan Strickler, October 4, 2021

Pest-Proofing Your Home - Zachary DeVries, UK Entomology Extension Specialist, September 28, 2021

Forage Timely Tips: October – UK Forage News, October 1, 2021


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