Ag Weather Center-white.png

Ag Weather Update

Matt Dixon, Meteorologist

UK Ag Weather Center

Updated 8-21-23 at 5PM EDT

Stressful heat through Friday

Happy Monday, folks! Summer heat returned to the area in full force yesterday (8/20) and will remain through Friday. Looking at this afternoon, high temperatures have risen into the upper 80s to low 90s for just about everyone. Exceptionally muggy air has pushed heat indices well over the century mark across Western KY. I've already seen the Union County Mesonet station hit 114! Unfortunately, today and Sunday may feel "comfortable" compared to where we're going.

Excessive Heat Warnings have been issued by the National Weather Service for all counties west of I-65 (map below) and a handful into the western Bluegrass. These headlines will last through Thursday night at 11PM EDT. Highs in the mid to upper 90s will be commonplace, although clouds have helped out a bit today. Combined with high humidity, look for heat indices in the 105 to 115 range.

Don't think you're out of the woods if you live east of I-65! You'll still be rising into the low to mid 90s on a daily basis. Humidity won't be quite as high, but it'll still be hot, nonetheless! While the current Heat Advisory expires this evening at 9PM EDT, additional advisories will likely be issued this week.

Please take the heat, seriously. I've said it in the past and I'll say it again...heat stress tends to sneak up on you. If you're working outside this week, take frequent breaks, drink plenty of water (even if you're not thirsty), and wear loose/light colored-clothing. Below is a graphic showing some of the signs associated with heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Again....take it easy! The same information goes for everyone visiting the state fair this week!

In addition, the Ag Weather Center's livestock heat stress index will be peaking in the danger to emergency category each day. In some additional bad news, not much recovery is expected at night as lows only drop into the 70s. Precautions will be necessary! Shade, adequate ventilation, and plenty of cool, clean water will be a must this week. If you need to work or transport animals, try to get it done early in the morning. Keep an eye out for excessive panting! More info on heat stress mitigation measures can be found in a previous UK Ag Communications article, here.

The heat will break Friday night and into Saturday as a cold front ushers through the area. Look for high temperatures to drop back into the 80s over the weekend. Unfortunately, not much rain is expected to accompany the frontal boundary. Hence, forecast accumulations over the next week from the Weather Prediction Center (map to the right) are fairly low.

Long range outlooks don't provide a lot of hope looking further out, either. Both the 6-10 and 8-14 day outlooks both lean toward below normal precipitation for the end of August and start of September.

Outside of a slight portion of Harlan County, the latest update to the U.S. Drought Monitor last Thursday removed any mention of abnormally dry conditions across the state. Based on the forecast, I'm sure it won't take long to see that map go in the opposite direction pretty soon. Most of us haven't seen a good rain since last Monday (8/14). If there's some good news, we can take a break from mowing!

Sign up for the Ag Weather Update

Related News from UK and Beyond

Kentucky Crop Progress and Condition Report - USDA NASS Kentucky Field Office, August 21, 2023

U.S. climate summary for July 2023 - NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information, August 9, 2023

The Importance of checking irrigation system uniformity - Younsuk Dong, Lyndon Kelley, Eric Anderson and Molly Sears, Michigan State University Extension - August 18, 2023


Email  Twitter  Web