kentucky weather history


weather has been observed in kentucky since the 1700″s and daily observations of the weather have been taken in kentucky for over 150 years(1). Over the years the intrest in and the number of observers of the weather has increased here in kentucky. some examples are a book called ” the climate summary of the united states” published in 1933 and ” climate of kentucky” published in 1971 by the UK ag center.  Now there is a weather station there in the AG department at UK that tracks the impacts of weather and climate on kentucky AG. There website is and the leading meteorologist is the very friendly and knowledgeable Tom Priddy. In the 1970’s Kentucky also divided into 4  climate sectors western,central,bluegrass and eastern ( I.e the sectors in the palmar drought index). I could go into several examples of early observations and how weather pioners paved the way for the meteorology and climatology we know today in kentucky. However, I will spare you and go into the fun stuff.

The main topic of part 1 is kentucky’s extreme temperatures over time.

the first bout of exteme cold was in 1963

– the high was 50 on average across kentucky on January 23 ( i’m going to wear my shorts 50 for Jan 23!!!!) not really the temps plummeted almost 80 degrees by the next morning, most of southern ky including bowling green and somerset had huge drops but bradford won out with a low of -30*F the next morning. This same air mass produced a low of -34*F at bonnieville in Hart county.

– snowpack can also aid extreme cold that was the case on Jan 19,1994 where lows plummeted to -37*F in shelbyville and -30*F across most of KY.that -37*F is the lowest ever temp in ky.

– the winter of 1976-77 was very cold the average temp was 28.8*F for the entire winter brrr!

– what about the year without a summer in 1816, this was due to a volcano eurption in april of that year. (  volcanic eurptions may have a long term warming effect on the earth this would not be a good arguement to make in a global warming debate)  BO Gaines (not a relative of mine) wrote a discription of that summer June- frost,ice,snow common july-frost on the 5th, ( how would like frost on your 4th BBQ’s) Aug- ice 1 inch thick

time to warm things up

– summer of 1930 extreme heat and drought to aid heat waves. greensburg reached 114*F

in 1936 the temp rose above 90 95 days one even in october., hopkinsville got over 100 14 straight days.

1999 was a modern example of a unsually hot summer, paducah’s hottest july on record. 

part 3 floods/severe weather/ drought

– floods in the 1970’s led to the addtion of a new national weather service in jackson

– in 1977 there was 25 mill in flood damage in se ky

– record ohio river flodding in jan 1937 along the ohio river

– stalled front feb 27-mar 3 1997

– severe weather outbreak 1974

– drought 1998,99


10 Responses to “kentucky weather history”

  1. hydraulic floor jacks Says:

    I must say, that I can not agree with you in 100%, but it’s just my opinion, which indeed could be wrong.
    p.s. You have a very good template for your blog. Where have you got it from?

  2. mim Says:

    Has it ever snowed in ky in July.

  3. mim Says:

    has it ever snowed in Ky. in July?

    • mitchg Says:

      yes, according to a record titled a history of scott county written in 1905. A journal from 1816 was in this record indicating June 1816 was the coldest ever with snow and ice and ice was common in July as well.

    • Gaye Hill Says:

      This was known as ‘the year without a summer’, and many other names owing to the very cold temps and lack of crops.
      The origin of this weather was directly related to the Mount Tambora eruption event covering the 5th – 15th of April 1815, putting so much debris in the atmosphere it altered the weather.

  4. Linde Cravens Says:

    I am always amazed at the fact, especially in the Louisville area that Kentucky weather seems to be so wrong! Much, I think is due to most of the info coming out of Louisville and it is so connected to Indiana. This leaves the rest of the state out–Pretty much! There is a vast difference in Kentucky and Indiana weather. The Louisville weathermen give the same temps out from 70 miles above Louisville as they do 60 miles south of Louisville–Come on!!!!!! We are not dumb!

  5. jenny Says:

    I was wondering and I have had some people say , they believe that we will have a bad winter because of the really hot temperatures for this summer is there any truth to that

  6. phillip blankenship Says:

    what was the weather was like in the fall of 1893 for harrison county ky.

  7. byran partin Says:

    I remember the winter of 1985,-January 20-21- in Williamsburg, Ky.,was so cold-24 below zero- the oil in my truck was frozen. Had to put a coal oil lamp under the oil pan to thaw it out….Brrrrrr!!!!!

  8. Patricia Says:

    How could a report of -20F in Hart Co. in 1856 be confirmed?

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