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Ag Weather Update

Matt Dixon, Meteorologist

UK Ag Weather Center

Updated 5-18-22

Recent Conditions

What a difference a week makes! Behind a mostly dry and very warm week, Kentucky corn planting is now only 5% behind the five-year average at this point in the spring season (map below). 65% of the corn crop is now planted, increasing 26 percentage points from last week!


The big jump followed what had been 5+ days of dry conditions for much of the state. The only shot of showers and storms was over the weekend, which was still hit and miss. This was more of your summertime pattern with slow storm movements and scattered coverage. While some folks saw more than an inch, a neighbor several miles down the road may not have seen anything. Overall, the state only averaged 0.45 inches for the week. Going back 14 days, deficits are on the increase across Western and Central KY and shallow soil moisture is on the decrease. Much of this area is 1-2 inches below normal over the past two weeks. It's nice to have a dry window, but two weeks of dry weather coupled with summer heat can quickly shift our opinion.


Speaking of summer heat, how hot did it get last week? Most saw high temperatures average in the low to middle 80s, which was anywhere from 5 to 9+ degrees above normal for this time of year (map below). Several surpassed the 90-degree mark for the first time in 2022, led by the Kentucky Mesonet station in Fulton County and Paducah Barkley Regional Airport, which both hit 92 on the 12th! Just to put in perspective, the normal high temperature for May 12th in Paducah is 77.9 degrees. Paducah actually hit 92 on the 11th, too. This was the earliest 90-degree+ temperature at Paducah Airport since 2012.

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While planting is still in full swing, it wouldn't hurt to get a little moisture in the ground based on the deficits above. Luckily, we do have rain on the way. Western KY saw some rain this morning, but it didn't amount to much, less than a tenth for most. More significant activity is expected this afternoon and evening across the state where strong to severe storms will be on the table.  

The Storm Prediction Center currently places much of Central KY under a “slight” risk for severe weather (map below). The main threats include damaging winds and large hail, but a weak tornado or two can’t be ruled out. Breaks in the clouds will be key to the severe potential. Outside of the severe threat, any storm this afternoon will be capable of producing frequent lightning and very heavy rain, which could lead to some localized bouts of flash flooding. Have a way to receive warning if working fields today! If you see lightning/hear thunder, go indoors!


Rain chances remain with the area tomorrow (5/19), along with similar risks for severe weather and heavy rain/lightning, especially across the southern half of Kentucky. Dry, but warm temperatures then return on a temporary basis Friday. Looks for highs in the upper 80s to low 90s with breezy southwesterly flow in place. Some record highs and lows will be in jeopardy. 

The somewhat active pattern continues Saturday night and Sunday with the passage of a cold front. Coverage with this event looks to be a little more widespread.  Combined with activity today and tomorrow, we are looking at the potential for a half to one inch+ through the weekend.

Looking farther out, the long range outlooks for next week below (May 23-27) suggest near normal temperatures and above normal precipitation.


Related News from UK and Beyond

Kentucky Crop Progress and Condition Report - USDA NASS Kentucky Field Office, May 16, 2022

UK Corn and Soybean Newsletter - May 2022

Kentucky Wheat Production Expected to Decline - USDA NASS Kentucky Field Office, May 12, 2022

Spray Drift: A Serious Problem You Can Manage - Erdal Ozkan, Ohio State Extension Agricultural Engineer, May 10, 2022

Twenty Years Drought Examined - NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information - May 18, 2022


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