September 4, 2002 | By: Aimee D. Heald

Many Kentuckians may have noticed August was hot. But University of Kentucky Agricultural Meteorologist Tom Priddy said it was more than just hot - it was hot enough to stand out in the record books.

"August 2002 will go into the record books as both a hot and dry month for the Commonwealth," he said. "It was the third straight month with above normal temperatures and below normal rainfall. Preliminary analysis indicated that this August was the 10th hottest and the 40th driest in the past 108 years."

Beyond that, Priddy said the 2002 summer was the 11th hottest and 18th driest June, July and August in the past 108 years with less than 10 inches of rainfall received across the state. The driest summer was in 1930 when the Commonwealth received only a little over five inches of rainfall during the entire season.

Below normal rainfall amounts sent most of the state into mild and moderate hydrological drought and serious agricultural drought by the end of August.

"By August's end, only the Central Kentucky climate zone was fairing slightly better with above normal rainfall for the month, but still unfavorably dry and the East was abnormally dry," he said. "The West and Bluegrass areas were in the worst shape and needed nearly six inches above normal rainfall to return to hydrologic normal."

Priddy said one way to see just how hot the summer was is to look at the number of days where the high temperature equaled or exceeded 90 degrees. For the summer, Paducah had 54 days, Louisville 51 days, Lexington 36 days, Covington 29 days and Jackson 12 days.

The Louisville statistic alone was 20 days more than normal above 90 degrees," he said. "

Priddy also noted that although El Nino has resurfaced in the Pacific, it played no part in the hot and dry conditions of the 2002 summer in Kentucky.

"We were in a condition of La Nada during the summer," he said. "And that means there was no La Nina or El Nino affecting our weather patterns."

Looking forward to the end of September, Priddy said all models indicate a similar pattern with above normal temperatures and below normal rainfall. There is some return to near normal temperatures in the extended outlook through November, but still below normal precipitation.


Brenda Childers  859-257-3000