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Ag Weather Update

Matt Dixon, Meteorologist

UK Ag Weather Center

Updated 8-16-22

2nd straight month of above normal rainfall?

The state averaged near normal precipitation last week, most of which fell early in the workweek behind multiple rounds of rainfall. Saying that, coverage was scattered in nature, leading to quite the range in accumulations. Some saw more than 2 inches, while others didn’t see much of anything. Luckily, most of those areas that missed out, saw more than enough rainfall over the first week of the month to make up for a dry window. Below is a look at month-to-date accumulations through August 15th. A large portion of Kentucky has seen anywhere from 2 to 4+ inches. According to data with the UK Ag Weather Center, the state average currently sits at 2.76 inches for the month thus far. The state normally averages 3.62 inches for the entire month of August.

Looking at temperatures, Kentucky has FINALLY gotten a break from the heat and humidity that has plagued the area through the 2022 summer season. Behind the passage of a couple cold fronts, temperatures and humidity took a major slide heading into this past weekend. In fact, highs on Friday (8/12) and Saturday (8/13) stayed in the upper 70s to middle 80s. Lows on Saturday morning even dipped into the 50s, more typical of mid-September.

Saying all that, the biggest change was in humidity. The Weather Prediction Center shared the image below of the 24-hour dew point change last Friday (amount of moisture in the air).Behind the passage of the cold fronts, dew points took a major plunge across the area, leading to a MUCH more comfortable airmass. We had dewpoints in the 70s earlier in the week (oppressive), before dropping into the 50s on Friday for much of the area.

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Showers have been working across Western KY today (8/16), one part of the state that can still really use it. As of 3PM, the Fulton and Ballard County Mesonet stations had each recorded just over a half inch. This activity looks to taper this evening with not much more in the way of accumulations. Otherwise, just isolated showers elsewhere. Most should remain dry.

The rest of the workweek looks to remain mostly dry, save for some isolated to widely scattered showers here and there. I saw a lot of hay being cut on my way into work today and if it were me, I would have done the same! Just be sure to get it up by Friday. Better rain chances arrive this upcoming weekend and into early next week with a slow moving disturbance aloft. In doing so, most of the 7-day forecast rainfall seen in the map below will occur from Saturday, onwards. Temperatures will continue to run below seasonable norms, staying mainly in the low to middle 80s over the upcoming week.

Looking into the week-2 timeframe, all indications from the outlooks below hint at a continuation of our current cool and wet pattern. Shades of blue and green hint at higher confidence by the forecasters in below normal temperatures and above normal precipitation. Normal highs for the end of August run in the mid to upper 80s, while lows average in the middle 60s.This is the reason that if I needed to cut some hay, I'm doing so this week and not waiting until next! Sometimes you just have to roll the dice.

Lastly, I wanted to take a quick look at the El Nino - Southern Oscillation (ENSO) climate pattern. This pattern can influence global atmospheric circulations, which can have an impact on temperatures and precipitation. This oscillation has three states: neutral, El Nino, or La Nina. All are based, most notably, on sea surface temperatures in the equatorial Central and Eastern Pacific Ocean. El Nino is associated with above normal sea surface temperatures, while La Nina is just the opposite (below normal). 

In a rarity, probabilities below are leaning toward a third straight La Nina this winter. The impacts of this oscillation are most notable during this season across the United States. While it doesn't happen all the time, La Nina usually favors above normal precipitation and temperatures in our neck of the woods.

What happened the past 2 years of La Nina? Kentucky saw it's 16th wettest winter on record (Dec 2021 - Feb 2022) with the state averaging 15.95 inches (4 inches above normal). It was also the state's 18th warmest winter on record with data going back to 1895. Winter precipitation was only slightly above normal during the winter of 2020-21, while temperatures ran below normal. Once again, while La Nina favors above normal precipitation/temperatures, it doesn't always happen that way.

Horticulture Webinar Wednesdays

Tomorrow, August 17th, I'll be making a presentation on UK Horticulture Webinar Wednesday's, focusing on our wetter and warmer climate over the past decade and it's impact on Kentucky horticulture. I'll also take a look at summer 2022 and what to expect moving forward. The talk begins at 12:30 pm Eastern/11:30 am Central and should last about a half hour. You can register for the meeting, here.

Related News from UK and Beyond

Kentucky Crop Progress and Condition Report - USDA NASS Kentucky Field Office, August 15, 2022

USDA-FSA’s Livestock Indemnity Program - Dr. Kenny Burdine, UK Extension Livestock Marketing and Outlook Specialist, August 9, 2022

After the flood, Bucket Brigade helps Knott County - Aimee Nielson, UK Ag Communications, August 10, 2022

Some Early Thoughts On This Fall’s Soil Fertility Management - Dr. John Grove, UK Professor of Agronomy/Soils Research and Extension, August 12, 2022

Kentucky Corn and Soybean Yields Are Forecast Lower - USDA NASS Kentucky Field Office, August 12, 2022

Understanding the drought monitor process - Christopher “Chip” Redmond, Kansas Mesonet Manager, and Matthew Sittel, Kansas Assistant State Climatologist, August 4, 2022


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