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October wettest on record for some

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By Bryce Roberts

There’s no doubt October 2009 was a soggy month most agricultural producers would rather forget. The record rainfall made everything more complicated. From delayed harvests to tobacco curing problems, farmers were soaked to the bone. When the month finally ended and the numbers came together, it was official – it was the third wettest October on record for the state and the wettest for western parts of the state.

“After the Bluegrass state suffered through two years of drought, the climate pendulum swung back to wetter than normal conditions through October 2009,” said Tom Priddy, University of Kentucky agricultural meteorologist. “Although this year did not start off unusually wet, the past two months of September and October have helped this year to be the ninth wettest on record for Kentucky.”

Priddy said the biggest contributor to this wet year was obviously the month of October. It brought 6.38 inches of rainfall, which was 3.25 inches more than average. September gave 5.36 inches, which was 1.87 inches more than average and the 11th wettest on record. Other notable months were May with 6.48 inches, June with 5.77 inches, and July with 6.46 inches which were the 17th , 11th , and 13th wettest on record respectively.

“Over the past seven months, we’ve had six with above normal rainfall,” said Mike Mathews, UK College of Agriculture staff meteorologist. “Only one week out of October reported below normal rainfall. Western sections of the commonwealth were the wettest.”

Mathews said Paducah, for example, experienced the wettest October on record and was one of the ten wettest cities around the state.

“Adding to the soggy conditions and despite the last week in October warming up, it was not enough to keep the month from being cooler than average, in fact it was the twelfth coolest on record,” Mathews said. “In the west, it was the sixth coldest October on record and the ninth coolest for the entire state. This is the opposite of September, which was above normal in temperature statewide.”

Severe weather was scarce in October with only two days of severe weather, producing five tornado reports.

Priddy said temperatures for the period averaged 53.8 degrees across the state which was 2.8 degrees below normal. Rainfall totals for October by climate division were, West 9.08 inches, Central 7.86 inches, Bluegrass 5.70 inches and East 3.70 inches, which was 5.91, 4.66, 2.77 and 0.77 inches respectively above normal. By station, precipitation totals ranged from a low of 3.55 inches at Jackson to a high of 11.13 inches at Hardinsburg.

Feel free to contact me at your Spencer County Cooperative Extension Service at 477-2217 or you can email me at broberts@uky.edu.  You can visit the Spencer County Extension Services’ website at www.spencerextension.com.