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Ag Weather Update

Matt Dixon, Meteorologist

UK Ag Weather Center

Updated 6-28-23 at 8AM EDT

Summer heat returning to Kentucky

Good morning, folks! I'm heading out of town for the next week and wanted to send out a real quick update. Starting off, Sunday's rain was much welcomed, but we could have done without the severe weather! Below is a look at total accumulations over the past week, most of which fell on Sunday. Central KY and point east have been the big winners, but some saw much more than needed and led to some bouts of flooding.

Western KY....well....let's hope you all hit on some of the rain over the coming week. Counties along the Ohio River from Carlisle to Henderson are running about 2 - 3 inches below normal over the past 30 days. The same can be said for a large portion of Todd and Logan Counties.

Something that caught my eye this past week....the latest drought status update for the Midwest mentioned that "58% of the Midwest is now in moderate to extreme drought, compared to just 8% five weeks ago". A look to the right shows percent of normal precipitation over the past few months. This is unfortunately leading to a another round of low water levels along the Lower Mississippi River. Something to watch moving forward....

Speaking of severe weather, the state saw numerous bouts of large hail and damaging winds late Sunday. Looking at the storms reports from the National Weather Service offices in Paducah and Louisville, the state saw quite a few instances of 1-2"+ hail. There's even a report from Madison County of 2.75 inches (baseball size).Unfortunately, the hail damaged some corn across the state. Here is a link to an extension publication from Dr. Chad Lee, which can be used as a guide to estimate any potential yield loss.

Wind-wise, one of the more significant reports came from the Kentucky Mesonet in Todd County with a gust of 95mph! In addition, there's already been a number of surveys throughout Central Kentucky (map below) that confirms straight line wind damage in excess of 90 mph. On top of the damaging winds and hail, there was even a couple tornadoes confirmed, including an EF2 in Hardin County and EF1 in Russell.

In-between the two rounds of showers and storms on Sunday, the Commonwealth got a dose of summer heat. Many across Western KY saw highs jump into the mid to upper 90s and heat indices peaked well over the century mark. All and all, this may have been an appetizer for what's to come. An Excessive Heat Watch has already been issued for much of Western KY as temperatures will jump into the triple digits on Thursday and Friday. These kind of temperatures are something that we really haven't seen since 2012. Combined with high humidity, heat indices (what it actually feels like to the human body) will peak in the 105-115 range. Below is a more in-depth look at specific locations from the NWS in Paducah.

Even outside of Western KY, most will see highs in the low to mid 90s. Everyone will see the livestock heat stress index hit the danger or emergency categories. Now's the time to start thinking about mitigation measures. Several UK specialists shared some timely tips in this article from 2020.

Speaking of the heat, I know there's quite a bit of concern out there between the lack of rain across portions of Western KY and corn getting ready to head into some critical stages of development. Definitely not a combination we want to see right now.

Looking forward, we're dry today with continued hazy conditions. Rain chances start returning to the area on Thursday and Friday as we enter into something called a "ring of fire" pattern. In this scenario, storm complexes will ride the periphery of the heat dome to our west, passing NW to SE through the area. This pattern usually results in some sort of severe weather, mainly in the way of damaging winds and heavy rain. The problem's hard to pin exactly when and where the storms will move until the day of the event. Models are all over the place. Bottom line, keep an eye on the forecast.

Going into the weekend, a frontal boundary looks to fall into the area and eventually stall, creating extra opportunities for rainfall. There's still question as to how the pattern evolves into next week, but showers/storms on the 4th are definitely in play. Given all the uncertainty in the forecast over the coming week, it's hard to definitively forecast accumulations. Saying that, we have multiple chances for rainfall. Hopefully Western KY hits more than they miss!

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Related News from UK and Beyond

Kentucky Crop Progress and Condition Report - USDA NASS Kentucky Field Office, June 26, 2023

2023 May WASDE Update: Yield is King - Dr. Grant Gardner, UK Extension Assistant Professor in Grains Economics, May 30, 2023

Corn Responses to Drought Stress - Dr. Bob Nielson, Purdue University Professor Emeritus, June 2023


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