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Ask Your Weather & Climate-related Questions Concerning Drought

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Name:jim oppenheimer
Added: Tuesday, August 3, 2010 10:26 AM
Comments: i was wondering if i need to do deep tree watering for established tree's the age's are approx 12-13 years old oak,maple.river brich,weeping cherry, i understand this is done by the amount of rain we have had i am trying to find out how many gallons of water might be needed i will be usings a ross root feeder

Name:STeve Fisher
Added: Wednesday, August 13, 2008 10:09 AM
Comments: Hello, I hope you can help me. Where can I find a history of droughts in Kentucky over the past 10 years? Iím interested in the length, severity, and areas affected. I hope there is a central record for this information that I have just not been able to find. Thanks very much for any insights you can provide, Steve Fisher

Added: Wednesday, October 10, 2007 4:18 PM

From: Keys Arnold

According to the latest Palmer Drought Index, Barren County, which is located in the central Kentucky climate division, is in Severe Drought. Collectively, the central climate division needs 10.03 inches of rainfall to escape drought conditions. The central climate division is the only climate division in Kentucky that is not in Extreme Drought.

Name:Pat Spalding
Added: Thursday, June 14, 2007 9:34 AM
Comments: We need information on the normal rainfall for Marion County, Ky. on a monthly basis. Where can we go to get this information, or could you e-mail it to me. Thanks for the help

From: Tom Priddy

The link to that information is available at:

Name:Tom Watson
Added: Wednesday, June 13, 2007 7:48 AM
Comments: At what point is the term "drought" used? In other words, how rain short does an area have to be to be declared in a drought?

From: Tom Priddy, UK Ag. Weather Center
We use the word drought for both agricultural and hydrologic drought. But they are not the same. It takes several months to move into hydrologic drought.

By rule of thumb, after a couple of months of below normal rainfall, we can easily go into a dry spell. But officially, in the United States, we use the Palmer Hydrologic Drought Index. Typically, we don't know we're in hydrologic drought until we're in the middle of it. Not so for agricultural drought. Two to 3 weeks of dry weather can have a significant impact for crops and gardens. What's important for agriculture is the timing of the rain. Even in hydrologic drought (that's the drinking water drought) a good rain can save our crops.

Hope this helps. Let me know if you have further questions. Drought can be a little confusing at times.

Name:Joan Baker
Added: Monday, May 28, 2007 1:58 PM
Comments: I know that morning watering of garden vegetables is the best time to water. I have been using gray water on my vegetable plants. Weeds are being kept to a minimum. Do you have any suggestions on how to get the best yield from my vegetable garden during this season of very little rainfall? Thanks.

From: Tom Priddy

Sound's like your doing many of the right things. I suggest that when you do water.... water deeply....put on an 1" of water at the time. That way it doesn't all evaporate in one day. Also....consider putting down a good mulch...which will reduce water lose.

And, of course....before you water....check the radar/forecast to see if any showers or isolated t-showers are coming your way.

Good luck!

Name:Tom Watson
Added: Wednesday, March 7, 2007 5:34 AM
Comments: Yesterday, forest fire danger was listed critical but today there are no mentions of drought or very dry conditions in eastern Kentucky ????????????????

From: Tom Priddy Weather conditions improved slightly.

Name:Pam Long
Added: Thursday, March 16, 2006 11:33 AM
Comments: Dear Sir: I'm not sure who to contact, but my school has an old weather station on top of our building that has been active for about two years. Is there anyone that could help us get this weather station functioning again? According to Ms. Welch, someone from UK helped with the setup originally. Our next unit is weather and it would be so exciting to have a functioning weather station. Sincere thanks! Pam Long

Name:Jim Dinger, KGS
Added: Monday, January 16, 2006 1:23 PM
Comments: TP: We're writing a grant proposal to examine drought response in Ky as seen by remote sensings tools. Is there a way to "define" and then "find" the drought periods in the precipitaion database, say since 1985. We need to order expensive satellite-sensed data, and want to determine the time periods where pasture grass might have been affected as defined/sensed by satellite imagery. Defining the time periods of drought should allows us to purchase the appropriate satellite imagery. tx, jsd 7-5500 x 163.

Added: Thursday, December 15, 2005 12:38 AM
Comments: I need rainfall data for 2003, 2004 and 2005 by month for Montgomery and Menifee Counties. Also normal precipation for each county. I work in the Farm Service Agency in the above counties and need the precipation to determine eligibility for assistance to our producers. Thank you, Danny Razor

Name:Jarrod Neff
Added: Tuesday, October 4, 2005 12:38 AM
Comments: Grazing Cattle on Drought Damaged Pasture I am raising beef cattle. Normally, I slaughter in early November. Due to the drought, I will be out of quality pasture in about 9 days. I am considering slaughtering early. Please answer the following assuming that my hay is of reasonable quality and it's cost is not a factor. Will my end-product meat quality/quantity be adversely affected if I feed hay for three weeks "holding out" in hope of forage growth?

From: Tom Priddy, UK Extension Ag. Meteorologist
Mr. Neff...I have referred your question to Dr. Les Anderson, Beef Extension Specialist. Let me know if you have not heard from him in a couple of days.

Name:Jason Phillips
Added: Tuesday, September 27, 2005 10:57 AM
Comments: Throughout the state of Kentucky did the rains of Hurricane Katrina provide an help for the corn crop? I am especially concerned with South Central Kentucky. If so, how large an impact do you feel that it had?

Mr. Jason Phillips:
I've sent your question to Dr. Chad Lee...the Extension grain crop specialist in the College. Weather-wise...just prior to Katrina...considerable corn in the state was in the reproductive stage. Temperatures were in the 90's which is not conducive to corn reproduction. So, while ample rainfall occurred from Katrina in many sections of the state...Dr Lee may have a better feel for how effective the rainfall was ...relative to the stage of the crop.
Tom Priddy ---
September 29, 2005


The Katrina rains were harmful to a lot of corn fields across the state, had no impact on a similar number of fields and, in my estimation, helped less than 5% of the corn crop in Kentuky. Most of the corn in Kentucky was at or very close to blacklayer when Katrina came through Kentucky. Once the corn reaches blacklayer, all grain weight has been obtained and the grain has actually severed vascular connections with the rest of the plant. The grain on corn at blacklayer would not be able to use any of the water from Katrina. Corn close to blacklayer (in the dent stages) would receive little to no benefit from Katrina.

The corn crop suffered from drought or near-drought conditions this year. Under this environment the plant will cannibalize nutrients from the stalk to produce grain. As a result of the cannibalization, the stalks were in poor conditions and could withstand very little stress (i.e. high winds, heavy rains, flooding) prior to Katrina.

In several fields, particularly in western Kentucky, the rains beat down a lot of corn. Farmers have had difficulty getting the downed corn harvested. In other fields, the rain encouraged fungal growth leading to ear diseases, which can lead to mycotoxins. We are recommending that any corn fed on-farm to cattle this year should be checked for mycotoxins before feeding.

Had Katrina been about 3 weeks sooner, a lot of corn would have benefitted from the rains. Much of the Midwest has corn that is developing behind ours. That is probably why current projections increased for the US corn crop. This further hurts Kentcuky farmers because prices are dropping from the increased US yield projections, but the rains actually hurt yields in Kentucky.

On the bright side, the rains were critical to helping out the soybean crop fill seed and increase yields.


Chad Lee, Ph.D.
Assistant Extension Professor, Grain Crops
423 Plant Science Bldg
1405 Veterans Drive
Lexington, KY 40546-0312

office: 859.257.3203
fax: 859.257.7874
website: ********************

Name:mahesh d patil
Added: Monday, September 12, 2005 2:18 PM
Comments: mycorrhizae role in moisture conservation during drought

Name:Tom Priddy
Added: Tuesday, August 16, 2005 1:50 PM
Comments: Test of Ask the Expert html service

Ag Weather Center, Department of Biosystems & Agricultural Engineering, University of Kentucky
University of Kentucky