Summer 2012 Outlook for Kentucky

By Shawn Crowe

As of May 10, this year is still the warmest year ever recorded in the bluegrass area of Kentucky. The official average temperature at Lexington for the period Jan. 1 through May 10 is 49.1°F. This surpasses the old record of 47.7°F set in 1921. Some say spring got an early start this year. I say winter never really began.

As far as precipitation goes, we are right at normal for the year. The average from Jan. 1 through May 10 is 16.24” at the Lexington station, and we only recorded 14.82” during that time frame. However, this doesn’t take into consideration the nearly 2” of rainfall we received over the Mother's Day weekend. So we’re looking really great in terms of rainfall for the gardens and crop fields.

So where do we go from here? The official outlook for summer issued by the Climate Prediction Center indicates that neither drought nor a wet summer is likely.  hey are predicting, based upon the global weather patterns expected, that Kentucky will see a very average season in terms of rainfall from June through September. Temperatures are expected to be very close to average through late summer, and then possibly slightly warmer than normal as summer comes to a close.

Personally, I see no reason to argue with them. The La Nina conditions that have ruled for many months are now officially gone and we are currently in a neutral phase on the ENSO cycle. The prediction for the rest of summer is for this cycle to remain neutral. We may see El Nino develop as we head toward late Fall 2012. With neutral conditions, however, the global weather patterns won't have a huge affect on the weather in the eastern U.S.

So in a nutshell, after several years of wild swings in the weather, all indications are that 2012 is going to turn out to be a very average year with both temperatures and precipitation close to our normals. As of right now there is nothing that would lead me to believe that a severe drought is likely this year, and that is great news.

What isn’t great news is the pollen levels for people like myself who suffer from seasonal allergies. 2012 has been one of the worst years ever because of the very warm winter we experienced, the record warmth in spring, the plentiful rainfall, and increased clearing of natural landscapes for construction of homes, businesses and roadways.  Typically, we have to fight tree pollen in spring, grass pollen in summer, and weeds in fall. The fall ragweed season is by far the worst and affects millions of Americans. I predict that the late August through early October period of 2012 will be one of the most severe allergy seasons that we’ve ever dealt with. It’s time to stock up on those anti-histamines.






Sources: National Weather Service and the Climate Prediction Center