The climate of Kentucky
experiences a humid subtropical type of climate (Köppen climate classification Cfa), with an oceanic climate (Köppen Cfb) in the highlands of the southeast. Hot summers and cold winters occur typically, with a gradual increase in warmth in the southern regions. Kentucky lies in the east-central portion of the United States. Missouri in the west, Illinois, and Indiana in the northwest, Ohio in the north, West Virginia in the east, Virginia in the southeast, and Tennessee in the south border the state. Lower latitudes and proximity to the Gulf of Mexico are major players that influence the climate.
Kentucky, the Bluegrass State, has an average elevation of 230 meters above sea level, with the highest altitude of 1265 meters at Black Mountain highest and lowest of 78 meters at the Mississippi River at Kentucky bend. The state is home to diverse environments and varied topography along with the longest cave system and greatest navigable waterways in the United States. The Ohio River forms a northern border and the Mississippi its western border. Out of the five geographical regions, the Cumberland Plateau lies in the east. Bluegrass in the north-central region consists of short steep, narrow hills, while the Pennyroyal Plateau lies toward the south-central and west. The Western Coal Fields are forested, while the Jackson Purchase in the far west has alluvial plains and small hills.
The best time to visit Kentucky
The best time to visit Kentucky
is in the fall season from mid-September
when the conditions are pleasant after the end of the hot summer. The autumn is the driest season of the year with sunny days amid low humidity. The days are in the 50°F to 83°F zone, while the nights are mild in the 40°F to 60°F range. Storm activity is at a low, and the landscape is colorful during the autumn. The spring season has mild temperatures, while early summer is warm, but significant rainfall and thunderstorms make the period dicey for a vacation.
The worst time to visit Kentucky
The worst time to visit Kentucky
is in the winter from December
when the conditions are cold. Although low temperatures rarely drop below 0°F, strong winds exacerbate the cold, and freezing nights occur across the state. Snowfall is light in the south compared to the north and does not accumulate on the ground for long periods. Polar air masses occasionally reach the northern portions and travel all the way to the south. Snowstorms are occasional in Kentucky, but even moderate amounts of snowfall stall everyday life due to lack of snow removal measures.
Spring weather in Kentucky
Spring in Kentucky
is characterized by mild temperatures but is also the wettest season. Storms and rapid changes in weather are common, requiring visitors to be prepared for fluctuating conditions. Rainfall averages are highest during these months, contributing to an annual precipitation of up to 50" in the south. Average temperatures span between 50°F and 75°F, offering opportunities for various outdoor activities, from hiking to boating.
Summer weather in Kentucky
Summers are hot, humid, and occasionally oppressive, with temperatures frequently crossing the 95°F mark in July
. The season is also marked by high levels of humidity, making outdoor activities less comfortable. Rainfall during the summer is significant, contributing to an annual average that is higher in the south-central region compared to the north. Due to the humidity and high temperatures, indoor activities or water-based outdoor activities are preferable.
Autumn weather in Kentucky
Autumn brings a welcome change from the summer's intense heat. The season is characterized by lower humidity levels and predominantly sunny conditions. Temperatures are moderate, ranging from 50°F to 83°F, making it an ideal time for outdoor explorations. Rainfall decreases significantly during these months, contributing to dry and comfortable conditions. The landscape also undergoes a spectacular transformation, with vibrant fall foliage adorning the state.
Winter weather in Kentucky
Winter ushers in colder temperatures, with nighttime lows often dropping below 23°F. Snowfall ranges from 15" to 20", primarily affecting the north and east of the state. Although snow cover is short-lived in the south, it may last over two weeks in the north. Despite its chill, winter is relatively mild compared to other regions with harsh climates. Nonetheless, the presence of strong winds and occasional polar air masses can make the cold more biting.
Weather in January
stands as one of the coldest months of the year, often experiencing temperatures that dip below 23°F during the night. The month holds the record for the lowest temperature ever recorded in the state, with a chilling -37°F noted in Shelbyville on January 19, 1994. Weather in January »
Weather in February
marks the concluding phase of the winter season, serving as a bridge to the impending spring. The month exhibits cold but relatively less harsh conditions compared to January
. Daytime temperatures often range from 30°F to 50°F, while nighttime lows can drop to 25°F. Weather in February »
Weather in March
heralds the arrival of spring, bringing with it a noticeable shift toward milder conditions. Daytime temperatures frequently settle between 45°F and 60°F, while nighttime lows hover from 30°F to 45°F. Compared to February
, the atmosphere starts to lose its chill, especially in the southern regions. Weather in March »
Weather in April
solidifies the presence of spring, distancing itself further from the vestiges of winter. Daytime temperatures typically fluctuate between 55°F and 70°F, making it significantly warmer than March
. Nighttime lows generally range from 40°F to 55°F. Weather in April »
Weather in May
ushers in the latter part of spring in Kentucky
, acting as a precursor to the hot and humid summer months ahead. Daytime temperatures commonly range between 65°F and 80°F, marking a substantial increase over April
’s averages. Weather in May »
Weather in June
marks the official commencement of summer, bringing with it an unmistakable increase in heat and humidity. Daytime temperatures consistently sit between 75°F and 90°F, a noticeable leap from the conditions in May
. Weather in June »
Weather in July
is the pinnacle of summer in Kentucky
, characterized by its intense heat and high humidity levels. Daytime temperatures frequently range from 80°F to 95°F, making it the hottest month of the year for most of the state. Nighttime temperatures seldom drop below 65°F, providing little respite from the warmth. July holds the record for some of the state's highest temperatures, such as the scorching 114°F recorded in Greensburg on July 28, 1930. Weather in July »
Weather in August
sustains the summer’s sweltering heat but begins to hint at the transition to fall. Daytime temperatures usually linger from 78°F to 90°F, showing a slight decrease from July
's peaks. Nighttime lows offer a small amount of cooling, ranging from 63°F to 75°F. While July holds the record for the highest temperatures ever recorded in the state, August is not far behind. Weather in August »
Weather in September
ushers in the early signs of fall, providing a noticeable respite from the intense heat of the previous summer months. Daytime temperatures generally range from 70°F to 85°F, while nighttime lows span from 55°F to 65°F. Weather in September »
Weather in October
is when Kentucky
fully embraces the fall season, displaying a marked shift in weather conditions. Daytime temperatures commonly hover between 60°F and 75°F. Nighttime lows can be considerably cooler, ranging from 45°F to 55°F. Weather in October »
Weather in November
marks the transition from fall to early winter, bringing more dramatic changes in temperature and weather patterns. Daytime temperatures generally fall between 50°F and 65°F. Nighttime lows are cooler still, ranging from 35°F to 45°F. Weather in November »
Weather in December
welcomes the official start of winter, displaying a stark contrast to the mild and vibrant fall months. Daytime temperatures often fluctuate between 40°F and 55°F. At night, the mercury can dip to between 25°F and 35°F, a clear indication of the colder conditions that dominate this time of the year. Louisville and Lexington, as major urban centers, begin to see the occasional snowfall, although accumulations are generally light. Weather in December »