May 22, 2002 | By: Laura Skillman

Being in the top 10 in basketball is something teams strive for, but having a top 10 wettest spring in more than 100 years is something most people could do without.

From April 1 through Sunday, May 19, the state has had 11 inches of rain or 153 percent of normal. A year ago, the state had 4.34 inches for the same time frame. Seven inches is normal. Western Kentucky has received the most rain for the two-month span at 12.03 inches compared to 9.62 inches in eastern Kentucky.

The wettest two-month period recorded was in 1983 when 17.15 inches fell. That year ended with a drought.

"The Ohio Valley has been in the cross hairs for weather systems coming through," said Tom Priddy, University of Kentucky College of Agriculture meteorologist.

Priddy said their was no particular reason such as an El Nino to be causing this pattern. The contrast between 2001 and 2002 just show the extremes that can occur in Kentucky weather, he said.

In addition to the wet conditions, this past weekend saw temperatures dip to the freezing mark. Generally, by May 10, there is little likelihood of dipping to 32 degrees, he said.

Thanks to the wet spring, farmers are struggling to plant crops and cut hay. In Daviess County, about 15 percent of the corn crop has been planted but farmers are hoping to get back into their fields this week, said Wayne Mattingly, Daviess County Extension Agent for Agriculture and Natural Resources.

Tobacco is also suffering and plants need to be set, he said. Some farmers will likely set their tobacco first then move to their row crops, Mattingly said. And the recent weekend's cool conditions caused some frost damage to tobacco plants.

Mattingly said farmers would like to see about three weeks of dry weather but they don't want it to stop raining for the rest of the growing season as it has done in other years that began with a wet spring.

Priddy said the forecast for the remainder of the month looks promising with near normal precipitation and temperatures. The longer outlook is not so favorable, he said, with June, July and August expected to have above normal precipitation.


Tom Priddy, (859) 257-3000 ext. 245