July 8, 2005 | By: Aimee Nielson

The summer of 2005 is proving to be the exact opposite of 2004 with higher temperatures and a lot less moisture. University of Kentucky College of Agriculture Meteorologist Tom Priddy said most of the Commonwealth is in some state of drought.

“With only 59 percent of normal rainfall received since May 1, the state is starting to suffer from lack of rainfall - both hydrologically and for crop utilization, according to the latest Palmer Hydrologic Drought Index and the Crop Moisture Index (CMI),” Priddy said.

As of July 4, the west and bluegrass climate zones of Kentucky have moved into a moderate hydrologic drought and needs above normal rainfall amounts of 4.66 and 3.36 inches, respectively.

Priddy said the central zone moved deeper into the mild hydrologic drought category, needing above normal rainfall of 3.52 inches. The east climate zone has faired better than the rest of the state. However, that region has now moved into the first phase of hydrologic drought, referred to as incipient drought. 

“The CMI indicated that most of the state was in the ‘Topsoil Moisture Short, Germination Slow’ category for west, bluegrass and eastern Kentucky but indicated that the central zone was the driest area relative to crop usage and in the ‘Abnormally Dry, Prospects Deteriorating’ CMI category,” Priddy said. “The most up-to-date information is available on theCollege of Ag’s weather Web site. You can get a county-by-county breakdown in the Precision Agriculture, Lawn and Garden Forecasts section of the site.”

Priddy said the immediate outlook doesn’t show any sign of relief as warm, dry conditions are expected to persist, with only occasional scattered rainfall throughout Kentucky. There is an outside chance that tropical storm Cindy in the Gulf of Mexico and tropical storm Dennis in the Caribbean could bring some much needed moisture to the state.

“Remnants of tropical storm Arlene really saved us in June,” Priddy said. “It’s possible that the only rain we get in the near future will come from these storms.”

Priddy said, though, that even 1 inch of rain could help farmers and homeowners with shallow-rooted plants such as grass and corn.

“The deeper rooted plants like tobacco are really digging their roots right now,” Priddy said. “There is moisture down deep since we had more than eight months of above-average precipitation leading us into this drier time.”


Writer: Aimee Nielson 859-257-4736, ext. 267

Contact: Tom Priddy 859-257-3000, ext. 245