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Recent rainfall pulls Kentucky out of drought

Recent rainfall pulls Kentucky out of drought

• Rainfall was heaviest in places where it was needed most — along the Ohio River and throughout the western half of Kentucky. • Rainfall was enough to give the state a total removal of hydrological and agricultural drought conditions by the end of November.

Although November started off just like the dry, warmer-than-normal months of late summer, things turned around toward the end of the month. Now into December, Kentucky has pulled out of the drought in all areas.

“Drought conditions had really worsened across the state, especially in the west along the Ohio River,” said Tom Priddy, University of Kentucky College of Agriculture meteorologist. “However, November didn’t stay dry as two widespread, heavy rainfall systems moved in late in the month.”

Priddy said rainfall was heaviest in places where it was needed most — along the Ohio River and throughout the western half of Kentucky.

“Those two systems late in the month were enough to take what would have been one of the driest August-to-November spans to only the 33rd driest,” he said. “And, more than that, it was enough to give us a total removal of hydrological and agricultural drought conditions by the end of November.”

Temperatures remained around normal toward the end of the November; however it did cool down enough for some light snowfall a couple of times, Priddy added.

Temperatures for November averaged 48 degrees Fahrenheit across the state, which was 2 degrees above normal. Departure from normal high temperatures ranged from 1 degree below normal in the west to 3 degrees above normal in the east. Low temperatures averaged from 37 degrees in the west to 36 degrees in the east. Departure from normal low temperature ranged from 1 degree below normal in the west to 2 degrees above normal in the east.

Priddy said all areas of the state have adequate moisture levels for any agricultural purposes at this point, with some even being too wet.

Because of the appearance of La Niña, a cooling of water temperature in the equatorial Pacific, many forecasters believe winter weather in the United States could be wild and extreme in some areas. But Priddy said Kentucky probably won’t have extremes.

“La Niña usually brings above-normal precipitation in the Ohio Valley, but it also brings above-normal temperatures, so that doesn’t necessarily mean more snow this winter,” Priddy said. “We’re definitely moving into a wetter pattern than we’ve been in the past several months, and while temperatures the past week have been below-average, most models show the long-range forecast bringing above-average temperatures for the region.”

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