I hate to say it, but for the first time this growing season, we may have to start talking about dry conditions. We just finished a week where the state only averaged 0.08 inches, and soil moisture levels are now on the decline. The return of summer-like temperatures later this week won’t help matters. Starting this Thursday and lasting through at least the weekend, highs are expected to rise into the mid to upper 80s. I would not be surprised to see some locations hit 90 for the first time this year. Unfortunately, rain, which would mitigate the affects of the heat, is not in the forecast. Outside of some additional isolated to scattered rain chances today and isolated coverage across the northern half of Kentucky tomorrow, I believe most will stay dry the rest of the week. The map above shows the precipitation forecast over the next seven days from the Weather Prediction Center, most of which is expected to happen early this week. We are expecting a tenth of an inch or less for much of the state. This isn’t bad news for everyone. Hay producers will want to keep an eye on the forecast as currently, as an extended window of dry weather will be in play starting on Thursday, possibly even Wednesday.
Looking farther out, long-range outlooks continue to point toward a warmer second half of May with high confidence in above normal temperatures. While the trend of drier conditions should continue into the May 23-27 time frame (image below), the outlooks start to switch their tune for the last full of week of May, which is something to keep an eye on. When reading these maps, darker shades of brown suggest high confidence in below normal precipitation, while dark green is associated with higher confidence in above normal rainfall.