In Aug. 5 Issue
The "dog days of summer" have made their presence felt in Russell County over the past few weeks with temperatures in the 90s and heat indices reaching more than 100 degrees on some days, according to State Climatologist Stuart Foster.
"Although the temperature has been above normal it is not surprising," he said. "It is not out of line to have a summer like this in Kentucky every once in a while."
These muggy, sultry days extend from early July through the early portion of September and are the most miserable to folks who can't stand the heat.
The hot temperatures and high humidity have returned this weekend after a few days of relief late in the week, though, as highs will again reach the lower 90s.
Foster said this pattern will likely continue well into the late summer months.
"Last year it was certainly a cool and pleasant summer," Foster said. "It has definitely been a hotter summer this year than last."
He said what has stuck out to many people, along with the high temperatures, has been high dew point numbers in the low to mid-70s.
"That is what has made it seem so uncomfortable," Foster said. Dew points at these levels mean very humid and uncomfortable, oppressive conditions.
Varying weather alerts prompting folks to stay out of the heat, if possible, has been the norm over the past few weeks.
Foster, head of the Kentucky Climate Center at Western Kentucky University, said with the hurricane season now in its initial stages, he expects a very active season which could cause this region some unpredictable weather as the storms develop in the Atlantic Ocean.
"Although we're not in the Gulf, it is certainly possible these storms could have some bearing on conditions," he said. "In late August and early September, we could see some heavy precipation from these storms.
Foster advised folks to keep an eye on the Kentucky Mesonet, a network of automated weather and climate monitoring stations being developed by the Kentucky Climate Center at Western Kentucky University, at http://www.kymesonet.org to stay in the know.
Mesonet stations located nearest Russell County include those in Cumberland County, Clinton County, Casey County, Taylor County, Metcalfe County and Adair County.
The stations in Metcalfe and Cumberland counties are located about 20 miles apart, but their locations reveal distinct contrasts in weather and climate, according to Foster.
The Metcalfe County station is located five miles west of Edmonton at an elevation of 1,002 feet. The plateau site is one of the higher points in the region, typical of the terrain in western Metcalfe County and eastern Barren County.
The Cumberland County station is located three miles west of Burkesville at an elevation of 551 feet. This site is in the broad valley near Marrowbone Creek, typical of many populated, agricultural areas of southern Kentucky.
The station in Clinton County provides the southern Kentucky region with another source of information and has been in operation since mid-December. It is located one mile north of Albany in a valley at an elevation of 1,020 feet.
Theses stations collect real-time weather and climate data on temperature, precipitation, humidity, solar radiation, wind speed and direction, Foster said.
The data is transmitted to the Kentucky Climate Center at WKU every five minutes, 24 hours a day, throughout the year.