August 12, 2005 | By: Aimee Nielson
LEXINGTON, Ky.

With the bluegrass area now in a severe drought and the rest of the state also suffering, prospects for decent crop yields are growing dimmer.

“Limited rainfall for the past week caused all of Kentucky to move deeper into drought, with the bluegrass climate area sinking into severe hydrologic drought status,” said Tom Priddy, University of Kentucky agricultural meteorologist. “The west and central areas returned to moderate drought. Eastern Kentucky is in mild hydrologic drought.”

This is the first time an area of Kentucky has slipped into a severe drought since April of 2001. With the lack of rainfall, crops around the state are losing yield potential. The most recent Crop Moisture Index reflects the limited moisture over the majority of Kentucky. The bluegrass climate area is the least favorable with the CMI reporting conditions as “too dry, yield prospects reduced.” Priddy said the region needs 6.87 inches above normal rainfall to make up for the lack of moisture in recent months.

West, central and eastern Kentucky climate areas moved into the crop moisture status of "abnormally dry, prospects deteriorating." Rainfall needed above normal to return to hydrologic normal in these areas is: west, 3.56 inches; central, 3.90 inches; and east, 2.50 inches.

Priddy said the latest weather maps show the upper level disturbance that has helped trigger isolated afternoon thunderstorms is departing to the east. High pressure is forecast to put an end to thunderstorm chances for the remainder of the week. He said daytime temperatures will approach and enter the mid-90s by the end of the week. 

Kentucky's six- to10-day outlook for the period of Aug. 15 through Aug. 19 calls for near-normal temperatures and near-normal rainfall. The outlook for Aug. 17 to Aug. 23 calls for near- normal temperatures and above-normal rainfall.

“That doesn’t mean we’ll be out of this situation any time soon since, traditionally, Kentucky is approaching the driest time of the year,” Priddy said.

To help residents during this period, the UK College of Agriculture is compiling drought resources on its Extension Disaster Education Network Web site.

“Although Hurricane Dennis brought some much-needed moisture to the Commonwealth, it wasn’t enough to stabilize the situation and we haven’t really seen much measurable precipitation since that time,” Priddy said.

Contact: 

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

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