FRANKFORT, Ky. (KT) – If you think the weather in Kentucky has become warmer and wetter over the past few years, you are absolutely right, and the new “normal” issued by the National Weather Service will bear this out.

You may have heard weather forecasters talk about temperatures or rainfall being above or below normal. 

NOAA’s new U.S. climate normals rolled out this month give the public, weather forecasters and businesses a standard way to compare today’s conditions 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 into 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 recommendations by the WMO, which provides a framework for international cooperation among meteorologists, climatologists and hydrologists. 

The decadal update is the equivalent of the census for those who use the data, which is just about everyone. It replaces the previous set of U.S. normals, 1981-2010, which cover all 50 states and U.S. territories such as Puerto Rico and Guam.

Here’s how this data will reflect the warmer, wetter conditions at climate reporting stations in Kentucky based on the new 1991-2020 normals:

Ashland/Huntington: Avg. temperature 56.5 degrees (+0.8). Avg. precipitation 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. precipitation 45.15 (+2.63).

Frankfort: 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 that had the biggest increase in annual average temperature, while Lexington and Jackson saw the largest increase in annual average precipitation.

Accompanying this story are maps showing the mean annual temperature change in degrees for the continental United States, as well as the mean annual precipitation change in inches.

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