New ‘normal’ Kentucky weather shows state is getting hotter and wetter in recent years

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By Tom Latek
Kentucky today

If you think the weather in Kentucky has gotten hotter and wetter over the past few years, you’re absolutely right, and the “normal” news released by the National Weather Service will confirm it.

You may have heard meteorologists talk about temperatures or precipitation above or below normal.

The NOAA US Climate Normals rolled out this month offer the public, meteorologists and businesses a standard way to compare conditions today to 30-year averages, in this case, the period 1991-2020. Temperature and precipitation averages and statistics are calculated every decade so forecasters can put today’s weather in its proper context and make better climate-related decisions.

Member states of the World Meteorological Organization, or WMO, are required to calculate their country’s normals at ten-year intervals. Countries follow the recommendations of the WMO, which provides a framework for international cooperation between meteorologists, climatologists and hydrologists.

The decennial update is the equivalent of the census for those who use the data, which is pretty much everyone. It replaces the previous set of US Normals, 1981-2010, which covers all 50 US states and territories such as Puerto Rico and Guam.

Here’s how that data will reflect warmer and wetter conditions at Kentucky climate observing stations based on the 1991-2020 new normal:

Ashland / Huntington: avg. temperature 56.5 degrees (+0.8). Avg. rainfall 45.10 inches (+2.51).

Bowling Green: Avg. temperature 59.1 (+1.1). Avg. precipitation 50.12 (+0.22).

Covington: avg. temperature 54.9 (+0.5). Avg. rainfall 45.15 (+2.63).

Frankfurt: avg. temperature 56.5 (+1.2). Avg. precipitation 47.34 (+2.20).

Jackson: Avg. temperature 57.2 (+0.6). Avg. precipitation 51.89 (+3.55).

Lexington: avg. temperature 56.3 (+0.7). Avg. precipitation 49.88 (+4.71).

Louisville: avg. temperature 58.9 (+0.8). Avg. precipitation 48.36 (+3.25).

Paducah: avg. temperature 58.8 (0.8). Avg. precipitation 50.34 (+ 1.24).

Frankfort and Bowling Green were the cities with the largest increase in annual average temperature, while Lexington and Jackson experienced the largest increase in average annual precipitation.

This story is accompanied by maps showing the average annual change in temperature in degrees for the continental United States, as well as the average annual change in precipitation in inches.

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