August 6, 2003 | By: Aimee D. Heald

Continued patterns of below-normal temperatures and above-normal rainfall once again pushed Kentucky into the record books. The months of June and July combined to go down as the second coolest in 108 years.

“Temperatures for July averaged 75.6 degrees which was only .8 degrees lower than normal but 7 degrees higher than June’s average,” said Tom Priddy, UK agricultural meteorologist. “So July alone registered as the 37th coolest on record, but June and July combined rank second.”

Priddy said the state averaged 5.38 inches of rainfall in July, nearly an inch above normal. The greatest amounts of rainfall occurred in the central, bluegrass and eastern regions. Western Kentucky received less rainfall but was still above normal.

“This year continues to put Kentucky weather in the record books,” Priddy said. “April, May, June and July were the 6th wettest in history. May, June and July were the 9th wettest and 11th coolest.”

The wetter, cooler weather caused delayed planting earlier in the growing season, with many producers having to replant entire fields. UK College of Agriculture Assistant Director for Agriculture and Natural Resources Jimmy Henning said the late planting of some crops put production schedules behind but in some ways the weather pattern is beneficial.

“We were late planting some crops, particularly corn,” he said. “Corn needs warmth to reach full maturity before the first frost of the year. However, I don’t think crop conditions as a whole are bad. We’ve had good water. On the pasture side, it’s been a blessing and a half.”

Henning said the wetter weather is especially good for red clover, which is likely to give producers another half-year of production.

“The critical time for red clover is the second year after planting,” he said. “So we’re likely to get another cutting off this year’s crop and then it will be great in 2004.”

Many farmers are wondering if this pattern will hold for the last part of summer and continue into early fall.

Priddy expects the persistent upper-level trough that has dominated the Eastern half of the United States, including Kentucky, off and on since June to continue a cool, wet pattern over the next week or so.

“In fact, one of the weather models indicated these conditions will stick around until August 17,” he said. “The long-range outlook for Kentucky calls for near normal temperatures and rainfall for the fall.”


Writer: Aimee D. Heald 859-257-4736, ext. 267
Source: Tom Priddy 859-257-3000, ext. 245