Fact Sheet - Hot Spots in Kentucky
Emily Bush Research Assistant and Glen Conner
State Climatologist Emeritus for Kentucky
 
Each year, temperatures across Kentucky soar to 90°F and beyond. This study reveals the areas of Kentucky where the temperatures frequently equal or exceed 90°F.

Data from a thirty-year time span of 1970-1999 were obtained from the Kentucky Climate Center for 52 in-state and 13 out-of-state sites. These data showed the mean amount of days that temperatures rose to or beyond 90°F. The mean values ranged from 14 days in Oneida, TN to 68 days in Gilbertsville, KY. The resultant map of Kentucky shows the normal occurrence of days when temperatures equal or exceed 90°F. The distribution of where these temperatures most commonly occur may be helpful in decisions for home design, power demands, conservation of water, and in scheduling locations for outdoor events and activities.

A temperature of 90°F is significant in that it ranks at the "caution" level of the NOAA's (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) Apparent Temperature chart even if humidity is not a factor. This chart is a quick way to determine the atmospheric temperature that your body senses. For example, an air temperature of 90°F combined with a relative humidity of 60% causes your body to sense a temperature of 100°F. Apparent temperatures may sometimes be about 15 to 20°F higher or even as much as 30°F higher (unventilated city areas), during periods of "heat waves" (NOAA, 1980).

The all-time #1 "hot spot" of Kentucky could be considered as Princeton. In the summer of 1952, Princeton endured 35 consecutive days of temperatures at 90°F or greater. The summer total for Princeton came to an incredible 95 days! Their last temperature recorded at 90°F or above was on October 1 (Conner, 1993)!

REFERENCES:
Conner, Glen. 1993. "Temperature Extremes."Climatic Extremes in Kentucky, Kentucky Climate Center Publication Number 2830 June: 1.
NOAA. 1980. "Heat Stress."Environmental Information Summaries C-19October: 1.