October 1, 2010

After a summer that seemingly dragged on and on with temps in the 90s and a long dry spell for much of the state, the weekend may bring an early frost to some areas.

“The weather models have been flip-flopping back and forth the past few days concerning cooler air moving into the Bluegrass state this weekend,” said Tom Priddy, UK College of Agriculture extension meteorologist. “Most of those models are now in better agreement, and as such, they suggest a patchy frost is a possibility for low-lying areas in Eastern Kentucky for Sunday morning, and even Monday morning, with temps dropping into the upper 30s.”

“It would be considered an early frost for the region since the median date for frost usually occurs between Oct. 11 and Oct. 25,” he said. “In Northern Kentucky, that date is usually between Oct. 21 and Oct. 31 and between those two sets of dates is when the entire state usually experiences a first fall frost.”

Priddy said the real question is just how much impact this situation could have after the summer Kentucky has had.

Drought conditions have caused many problems for Kentucky farmers. The crops got off to a good start with timely and plentiful rainfall in the spring, but drier conditions developed over the summer and took a toll on plant life.

“Much of the early and late soybean crop had to be harvested early, and much of that is being used for hay far earlier than normal,” Priddy said. “Corn was also negatively affected as the dry conditions weakened stalks and forced an early harvest for many areas.”

Some farmers have been reporting wells drying up, and they’ve been forced to truck in water to livestock.

“Fortunately, despite small creeks and wells drying up, most rivers and reservoirs are reporting close to normal, and in some cases above normal, levels,” Priddy said. “So in most cases this is an agricultural drought, not a hydrologic drought at this point.”

Priddy said October usually is one of the state’s driest months, although last year it was the wettest, and this one is supposed to be even drier than normal.

If moderate to strong La Nina conditions continue in the equatorial Pacific, warmer and wetter conditions are possible in most of the Ohio Valley this winter,” Priddy said.

News Topics: