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By JOHN FRIEDLEIN
HARDIN COUNTY — After a bone-dry August, remnants of Tropical Storm Fay are bringing rain to the area.
The weather system is timely. Even though the year overall has been a wet one, the dry spell has taken a toll on local plants.
Mark Adams, lead meteorologist at the Fort Knox weather station, said a lack of rain typically turns lawns brown in late July or August. Then relief comes in the form of leftovers of a tropical storm.
“Usually, this is our drought-buster,” he said.
The remnants of Fay could bring a half to three-quarters of an inch by today, Adams said.
But Monday afternoon’s rain was hit-and-miss. Since the system is slow-moving, however, those lucky enough to get rain from it will get plenty.
Besides Fay, a tropical depression in the Caribbean may bring more rain as soon as next week, Adams said.
The National Weather Service expects a cold front to bring another chance of thunderstorms Friday.
Before Monday’s showers, the Fort Knox weather station had recorded rain on Aug. 5 and 6 — a total of 1.29 inches for the month. The normal for August is 3.6 inches.
While this month has been dry, Fort Knox had recorded 39 inches for the year as of Monday, close to the yearly average of 43.1 inches.
Ironically, the wet spring actually is hurting some plants now in a way, because they didn’t develop an extensive root system, said Hardin County Extension Agent Kayla Helmrich.
At this time of year especially, dry weather can be especially damaging to row crops. For instance, soybean plants — some of which have grown no taller than wheat stubble — are filling their pods now, Helmrich said. Rain will determine how well they fill in.
As for overwintering forage crops, the dry spell magnifies last year’s drought. Usually it takes a couple of years for these plants to recover full health.
“It’s been a challenging year,” Helmrich said.
The worst thing that could happen now would be an early frost, she said.
John Friedlein can be
reached at (270) 505-1746.