Storms Usher In Cooler Temps

Good Friday, everyone. We have a cold front slowly sinking southward across the state today, bringing showers and thunderstorms and much cooler air. This small preview of fall will then be followed by more showers and storms next week as even cooler air tries to dive into our region for Labor Day Weekend.

Today’s front will have rounds of showers and storms along and ahead of it as it sinks southward. This means the threat for rain slowly ends from north to south as the day wears on. The farther south you live, the better the chance for some of this to hang around into the evening, potentially impacting high school football action.

The temperature trend is very pleasant with many areas not getting out of the 70s today. Overnight lows drop into the 50s as that cool/dry air takes control from the north. This will also set the stage for an awesome looking Saturday. Highs will generally range from the upper 70s to low 80s with low humidity and a mix of sun and clouds.

The threat for showers and storms will return quickly on Sunday as our flow becomes southwesterly…

Moisture from the Gulf will stream northward early next week and interact with a cold front. Here’s Monday…

And Tuesday…

That will be followed by another front later in the week, possibly setting up an even cooler brand of air for Labor Day Weekend.

This current and future rains are welcome news because things have been pretty dry for much of August, but rain totals are still much above average for the year.  Some folks are throwing the word drought around, but that simply comes from the terrible Drought Index which basically shows everything as a “drought”. I’ve called that index out for a long time now because of that.

The standard bearer for Drought Status has always been the Palmer Drought Index. This is still my go to and is what everyone remembers from true drought years over the past few decades. Here’s the current Palmer Drought Index…

Notice how much of the country shows up in the “moist” category. If you look at the legend it shows for drought, it has three categories… Moderate. Severe and Extreme. Those are the categories everyone remembers all us TV people talking about in REAL drought years.

Unfortunately, NOAA came up with something new called the Drought Monitor. It’s an index that lowered the standards so much that any dry period will show up as a drought. But pay attention to the legend…

The legend is totally different from the Palmer Drought Index, so if you hear a Moderate Drought, it’s not even close to even meaning what you’ve always associated with a drought because it comes from a 100% different source and classification system. Can you imagine what a true drought year would look like on that scale? Years like 1988, 1999, 2002 or 2007 would look like Kentucky no longer exists on that map.

Perspective is something sorely lacking in our weather community nowadays. Ok, I’m off my soapbox! 🙂

I leave you with your Friday storm tracking toys…

He a great day and take care.

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44 Responses to Storms Usher In Cooler Temps

  1. Jeff Hamlin says:

    Oh Chris don’t confuse your detractors with facts, you storm hyper, you. 😉 #kidding

  2. Farmer43 says:

    I have read this blog for many years the statement Chris made about drought might be college text book but I invite Chris to come to one of our farmer meetings and make that statement about drought I live in Breckinridge county we have got a total disaster here major major financial losses here last two months we have had very little rain and desperate right now for rain yes we might be above average for the year on rain but when you’re farming you can’t go two months July August our hottest months without hardly any rain just plain and simple

    • Schroeder says:

      I’ve visited a lot of farms all over the country and the most successful farms had irrigation available.

      • Linus says:

        Irrigation is a huge investment and most farmers already struggle to pay the bills. Plus you have to have access to a water source (using city water is not a viable option).

      • BubbaG says:

        That’s a pretty generic, presumptive and naive comment there, Schoedie.

        There have been areas impacted- Fact.

    • David in gtown says:

      One thing that’s good though is I have mowed exactly once since June 22. We’ve had less than an inch total since that date, and I’m not in the dry area of either index. That does not include today, where 2 batches of showers have moved through so far. It’s got to be tough on those depending on rain to make a living. I’ve seen far worse, but it’s been a very dry 2 month period here.

    • Andy Rose says:

      Don’t hold your breath Farmer43 I’m sorry but that’s the way he is nobody will convince him otherwise.

    • Schroeder says:

      Farmer43 I need to apologize to sound not caring about the DROUGHT that HIT your FARM. You are correct in your saying and Meteorologist need to report areas that are affected. Drought is however a harsh WEATHER EVENT just as FLOODING EVENTS. Chris Bailey is WRONG on not reporting this on his weather blog in my new opinion now. Hope next growing season will bring all Farmers prosperity.

  3. TennMark says:

    I’m a couple of days tardy chiming in, but my wife and I send our prayers and thoughts to Coffeelady!

    For others that may also be late getting the news about Coffeelady (and her daughter’s generally good update), check out the August 21 edition of the KWC blog.

  4. Schroeder says:

    Best wishes and a speedy recovery for the Coffeelady. She will be in my prayers and I look forward to reading her great and positive weather comments. I always like it when she always ended her comments with” have a great day everyone and GO CATS.”

    • Lindsey says:

      Thank you. I am her daughter. She is doing ok, but we have a very rough road ahead! I read some of the comments to her and she was so touched that so many were praying for her! Means a lot to us!

      • Schroeder says:

        Thanks Lindsey for the update on your Mother’s recovery. I will be glad to read her post again soon. May God bless her and her family. I have been out of sorts with my health too here lately and have not felt like posting.

  5. Linus says:

    The Palmer is very out of date. First off, it uses climate divisions, which are huge areas so it can mill smaller areas of drought. It worked great back in the day when information was limited but now with high res data, it is worthless. The Palmer is extremely slow to react to drought, plus it was deigned for Iowa and Kansas so it does not handle drought in the southeast very well.

    • Linus says:

      Not all droughts are textbook drought that dry up lakes and stream. They can be relatively fast developing agricultural droughts. If you are sitting in Louisville and Lexington, will you notice it. Not really, other than your lawn going brown, but that farmer in Woodford or Shelby County will when he is watching crops shrivel up.

    • Linus says:

      The Palmer states, “Limitation…is not generally indicative of short-term (few weeks) status of drought or wetness such as frequently affects crops and field operations.” The USDM doesn’t have that limitation. It can see short term agricultural drought as well and long term hydrologic drought. BOTH are still drought and need to be recognized.

    • Terry says:

      I agree on the huge climate division issue with the Palmer as there is over 150 air miles from Bell, Harlan, Knox, etc. in far SE KY from far NE KY counties along the Ohio River. We are usually much warmer and usually quite different in precipitation totals throught both short and long term time spans, which of course this topic is on accumulated precipitation.

  6. winterlover says:

    Oh lord do we live live in a perfection world? No such thing!!

  7. Terry says:

    After reading today’s new blog, I just know it will be a long but interesting day for viewing comments:)

  8. Mike S says:

    Yes, we can bicker about which index is the one to use (there are others besides these 2). When I think of true drought, it is long-term, generally historical, since it takes into account perhaps years of data compilation. The limitation of long-term indices is the short term variability and issues confronting the forestry divisions, hydrologists, and farmers, ones who need more relevant, timely data to make present and future decisions based on present impact.
    And the fact that we have had record 12-month rainfall amounts does not necessarily equate to a wet ground right now. The last 2 months, yes, the heart of summer, the long-term drought index does not address the current needs of decision makers who rely on the most up-to-date information going forward.

  9. Schroeder says:

    All I read is disrespect for Meteorologist Chris Bailey. I am really disappointed in all of you ! His blog today is interesting and I have now information I didn’t have. Thank you Chris and carry on, your great !

  10. BubbaG says:

    Me luvs some drought discussion from CB, since it’s his “favorite” subject. I need to get some popcorn!

  11. Schroeder says:

    I can see right now that you all were not raised or educated with good honest discipline. Absolute disrespect for others who educate like Meteorologist Chris Bailey. If this was my blog I would shut down the comment section for punishment. I am seriously considering leaving the blog. I don’t fit into this New Age way of behaving toward others that are more educated. My parents brought me up to respect others and ALWAYS follow the GOLDEN RULE and help people in need not walk all over them. A few weeks ago I thought we were all bonding but now I was wrong. The internet is a wonderful tool for learning and that’s what I use it for. The other side of the internet (social media) was created by the devil and is using people to spread it’s evil throughout the world. The time is coming when GOOD and EVIL will battle it out and as it says in the BIBLE good WILL win and the evil internet will no longer exist. While writing this I have made the decision not to participate in social media (this comment section) anymore as it has turned down the path of evil. May GOD help us ALL.

  12. DJC says:

    There is absolutely nothing wrong (and certainly not evil) with honest disagreement with another’s opinion. That’s what is voiced here, including Chris’. Opinions. Healthy debate is what makes this country better than Communist China. God help us ALL, when we can’t voice a different view.

  13. Chris says:

    For anyone that feels this “discussion” is disrespectful I HIGHLY, HIGHLY advise they visit other forums where any topic might be debated. Just sit back and read the comments. You will immediately realize how respectful and civilized this discussion has been on this site. Personally I’m impressed at the civility, because weather/climate can be a topic which typically ignites very, very judgmental and ignorant arguments.

    Not on this site though. Thank you CB and thank you to the others who respectfully shared their opinions.

    GO CARDS!!

    • Linus says:

      Saying go cards is very disrespectful. JK. But it is sad when someone uses facts to support their opinion and gets called evil for doing so.

  14. Mark says:

    Chris, first off, thank you for finally discussing dryness and drought in more detail. I’ve certainly been one to chime in recently on your lack of posts concerning the dryness that has developed across parts of the state. While I understand all of us weather lovers want to read / hear about the exciting weather of storms, flooding, and snow, discussing the less “sexy” weather is necessary to clarify the reality of the weather-world.

    While the drought monitor isn’t perfect, it is a good tool to discern short term dry conditions that have developed. Again, let us not forget the differences between SHORT TERM and LONG TERM. The Palmer Index is reliable for long term status, but even it has its flaws. I think one reason why you have been slow to discuss the dry conditions that have developed across parts of the state is you live in Lexington where dry conditions haven’t developed (yet). Come take a drive around Jefferson, Breckenridge, Meade, and Hardin Counties to see just how dry it has gotten since the beginning of July. Although around the Louisville area, the rain yesterday and the steady light rain today have really helped temporarily.

    Drought is no more a matter of perspective than excessive rain. If your crops and ponds are drying up, even if it’s just in the short term, is this simply a matter of perspective? If your house is under water from excessive rain, is this a matter of perspective? Of course not. One can argue when you lash out at the NWS for not issuing more advisories or warnings, that it is simply a matter of perspective on your part, no? Regardless, all of us weather nerds, weenies, lovers, etc, can always learn more by openly discussing all types of weather and acknowledging what is going on.

    For those of you interested, here is a great site to keep up the status of moisture conditions in Kentucky:

    • AC says:


      Thank you for this link. This provides a more detailed, in-depth look at various factors going into drought monitoring and gives a better picture of what’s actually going on. A lack of rainfall can have varying effects, not just hydrologically like the Palmer Index shows. Farmers going through four to five weeks of little to no rain can feel the effects of their own dry/drought status even though we may have already had a very wet year in prior months.

      I will also agree that excessive dryness in the summer can have detrimental effects to the growing season. This summer was very dry for parts of central KY (Elizabethtown to Lancaster and up towards Louisville.) Some parts of Garrard County still have not received any measurable rainfall for August. It’s the 23rd. Three weeks and two days with no rain. That’s a little while and will have visible impacts.

  15. Sam says:

    Thoughts and prayers for coffeelady.

  16. AC says:

    At the same time, I can also see Chris’s perspective on truly unique and severe cases of drought—like what we saw in 2007. That was a horrible year and we went weeks upon weeks where I lived in Lancaster where it barely rained at all the entire summer. I think I remember two to three showers all summer long that lasted no more than 15 minutes–and I would probably guess we barely got 1.50″ inches of rain from June to September. Cracks in the ground were easily large enough to fit your hand in—or your entire arm. Very, very dry. But it has been eleven years since then, so those severe droughts are a distant memory to some. Ask some of the more experienced folk online who lived in the 1940’s and since then–and they’ll tell you of years that were even drier than 2007. You only want to erase the oppression and misery of drought years like that.

  17. Winterlover says:

    1988-89 were the most drought event I have saw in my lifetime. Went nearly two years dryness and nothing come to that stage of dryness since. Live in Henderson.Co at the time and i’m sure the whole state was in same shape at the time.

  18. Mark says:

    Since Chris mentions perspective, let’s put the 1999 drought into it. This was a short term drought, yet much of the state was in a severe to extreme drought status. The months of July, August, and September saw less than an inch of rain total for many areas. Combined with record temps regularly in the deep 90’s to 100’s, it was a devastating short term drought. Some mature deciduous trees never recovered from that drought and died. But, 1999 started off very wet and ended very wet as a La Niña pattern set in late that year. In late June of that year, the southern half of Louisville received 3-4 inches of rain from training storms. This was the last serious rain until late October. So, in summary, not a long term drought by the Palmer standards, but a catastrophic SHORT TERM drought for the area, none the less.

    So, Chris, maybe you can understand better why some of us folks get concerned when 6 or more weeks in deep summer go by without significant rain in our backyards. Give me excessive rain and flooding any day over droughts. Droughts are the most unforgiving of all natural weather disasters.

    • DJC says:

      Good points. The 1999 drought also led to many pine forests severely declining thanks to an outbreak of the pine bark beetle. The short, but severe, drought of late summer played a big part in the outbreak because pine trees were already severely stressed by the dryness, and could not access enough water to produce the sticky resin that is their main defense against the beetle. Large tracts of pines declined or died off completely by the spring of 2000, and you can trace it back to the extreme lack of moisture in the short term drought of 1999.

      • Mark says:

        I think it’s important to point out that the drought of 1988, while a longer term drought than 1999, wasn’t as severe. That’s the thing about droughts… they come in all shapes and sizes. Theoretically, Louisville for example, could be in a severe long term drought while it doesn’t really look that dry. For example, let’s say it rains 0.50” in Louisville one day every week for a year. This would equate to 26 inches in the year, but over 16 inches below normal. No doubt the Palmer Index would show the area in severe (or maybe even extreme drought status). But would it look that dry? 0.50” of rain once a week is enough to water vegetation (including crops) and keep it looking fairly good, so to the naked eye, it wouldn’t look that dry. But 0.50” rain one day per week for a year isn’t nearly enough to keep streams, rivers, lakes, etc, at normal levels in the Ohio Valley. And the underground aquifers / water tables would suffer, too. Thus this type of long term drought would be more hydrological than agricultural. Most short term droughts are more agricultural, especially like in 1999. That’s why, like the past 7+ weeks here in north-central KY, some of us are showing concern, and aren’t ignoring the dryness simply because it was wet for the past prior 18 months. It’s not a matter of perspective, it’s a matter of fact and understanding of hydrology.

        • Terry says:


          I remember that drought and one very short-term agricultural drought like that in 2012. Those few super hot and dry months of 2012 summer were extremely dry, hot and thus, damaging to vegetation but the year as a whole ended slightly wetter than average with no true hydrological effect. Then a year like 2007, we had both agricultural and hydrological issues; it was terrible in SE KY and actually lasted into half of 2008 down here.

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