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Ag Weather Update

Matt Dixon, Meteorologist, UK Ag Weather Center

Updated August 31, 2021

Past Conditions 

I’m ready for fall to arrive any time now. Heat and humidity have been terrible throughout much of August, including this past week. Highs consistently rose into the upper 80s to middle 90s each day. Louisville, Madisonville, and Hartfort had the highest temperatures, hitting 97 degrees. Combined with dew points in the 70s, heat indices once again topped the century mark, which has been a trend throughout the month. Preliminary data from the Ag Weather Center indicates that this will be one of our warmer August months on record. As of now, data shows August 2021 would sit in the top 20 warmest of all-time with data going back to 1895. Interestingly, we achieved that despite the fact that we never had a single high temperature of 100 or greater across the Commonwealth during the month.

It was a hit or miss for rainfall this week for the Commonwealth. After starting the week on a dry note, isolated to scattered coverage developed each day from Wednesday onward. Any storm was again capable of producing very heavy rainfall. This aspect, combined with the limited coverage, led to a perfect example of “my neighbor got an inch and I got nothing!” You can see that spotty coverage in the map below. One exception was across Western Kentucky, which missed out on most everything. In fact, Western Kentucky only averaged 0.15 inches for the week.


Data for the Past 7 Days 

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Ida hit the Louisiana coastline as a high-end Category 4 hurricane. This system packed quite a punch, with powerful winds in excess of 150 mph, life-threatening storm surge, and excessive rainfall. Below is an image I took of the monster as it arrived on the coast yesterday. As an interesting sidenote, Ida hit Louisiana on the same day that Katrina made landfall exactly 16 years ago.


Looking ahead, the remnants of Ida will move through Kentucky today, tonight, and then exit Eastern Kentucky late Wednesday morning/early afternoon. The axis of heaviest rainfall has continued to shift slightly to the east with a sharp cutoff on the western and northern side of the system. Overall, 1.5 to 3+ inches will be possible for much of the eastern half of Kentucky. The map below is a 7-day forecast for rainfall accumulations, but most of rainfall will come in the next couple of days, while the remainder of the upcoming week runs dry.


Yesterday many areas received heavy rains that resulted in flooding, and today's totals increase that threat. The state (excluding Western Kentucky and the extreme Northern Bluegrass) is under a flash flood watch. If flooding occurs, do not drive across flooded roads. Find an alternative route. Remember, it only takes a foot of fast-moving water to carry away a small car and 18-24 inches to move SUVs and trucks. Also consider moving livestock to safe locations and block off access to flood prone areas.

Below are the totals over the past 24 hours, courtesy of the Kentucky Mesonet. The Purchase area of Western Kentucky will be the one area that does not get significant rainfall.


Wind gusts will generally top out in the 20 to 25 mph range, but occasional gusts up to 30 can’t be ruled out, mainly in South-Central/Western Ky. After Ida exits, the forecast for the rest of the week is mostly dry, a welcome reprieve from the heat and humidity. Highs may only be in the middle 70s to low 80s on Thursday and Friday, before increasing again over the holiday weekend. Dewpoints in the 50s later in workweek will make the air feel much more comfortable. If you’re a fan of cooler conditions, outlooks favor below normal temperatures going into the second week of September (maps below).

Read the Kentucky Ag Weather Synopsis

Ag Weather Related News

from around UK and Beyond

New UK program brings opportunities to learn about state’s natural resources – Jordan Strickler, August 23, 2021

Would we still have severe thunderstorms over North America if the Gulf of Mexico were filled in with land? - Dan Chavas, Associate Professor in Atmospheric Sciences at Purdue University, August 23, 2021

Registration for Kentucky Monthly Climate Perspective on Drought and Hydrologic Conditions Webinar Series 2021 on September 2nd – Kentucky Climate Center 


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