Weather in Lexington, Kentucky: Climate, Seasons, & Average Monthly Temperature

A rural drive near Lexington, Kentucky, in fall

markross / Getty Images

The weather and climate in Lexington, Kentucky, are most pleasant in fall, especially in October—although people sensitive to ragweed may disagree. With highs over 80 degrees F, September feels more like an extension of summer. As fall progresses, the sticky humidity lets up just in time for three weeks of thoroughbred racing at Keeneland in October. The leaves show their best colors for a couple of weeks before the first hints of winter usually arrive in November.

Compared to Midwestern cities, winter is relatively mild for Lexington; the average daily temperature in winter is around 37 degrees F. That said, winters always have at least one prolonged period of bitter temperatures. Historically, most of Lexington’s severe winter storms have hit between January and March. The city only averages 14.5 inches of snowfall a year, but devastating ice storms have caused shutdowns in the past.

Winters are hit or miss, but Lexington and the Bluegrass region of Kentucky certainly feel like a part of “The South” in summer. Hot and humid afternoons are the standard, and plenty of sunshine brings out brilliant shades of green in the rolling hills along the Bourbon Trail. Summer highs often hover in the 90s F and sometimes top 100 degrees F.

Fast Climate Facts

  • Hottest Month: July (87 F)
  • Coldest Month: January (25 F)
  • Wettest Month: May (5.4 inches of rain)
  • Snowiest Months: January and February (5 inches of snow)

Spring in Lexington

Lexington receives plenty of spring showers, but rainy days don’t stop the action at Keeneland in April. Each of the three spring months usually has at least 13 days of precipitation. May is the wettest month, with an average of 5.4 inches of rain. The average daily temperature in spring is 54 degrees F, which feels extra chilly on damp or windy days.

March has a history of surprising Lexington with winter weather as the seasons wrestle for control. Sometimes snow arrives late after weeks of warmth and sunshine have already teased out blooms and wildflowers. Usually—but not always—the worst weather is gone by Derby Day, the first Saturday in May.

What to Pack: Hope for the best but prepare for the worst, especially if traveling to Lexington in March. Bring additional layers to deal with chilly evenings that follow comfortable afternoons. Pack an outer rain shell or umbrella.

Average Temperatures by Month

  • March: 46 F
  • April: 56 F
  • May: 65 F

Summer in Lexington

Summer days in Lexington are hot, humid, and pleasantly long. You’ll have until 9 p.m. or so to enjoy outdoor activities before the sun finally sets. Lexington’s more than 100 parks get busy as local residents take advantage. High humidity often exasperates the afternoon heat, especially in July and August. Daytime highs and nighttime lows can differ by as much as 30 degrees. In 2021, overnight frost persisted until June—prepare accordingly if planning to camp in Red River Gorge or elsewhere in Daniel Boone National Forest in early summer.

Afternoon and overnight thunderstorms are relatively common throughout summer. The spurts of heavy rain keep flowers blooming and humidity soaring. Fireflies love the muggy evenings in July and August.

What to Pack: You’ll want some extra changes of lightweight clothing along with sun protection. Lexington is home to a surprising number of outdoor summer festivals and evening social gatherings—pack to take advantage!

Average Temperatures by Month

  • June: 73 F
  • July: 77 F
  • August: 76 F

Fall in Lexington

Fall is usually the best time to visit Lexington. The many hiking spots near Lexington and state parks, such as Natural Bridge State Resort Park, provide opportunities to admire fall foliage. Colors often peak in late October or the first week of November. With highs in the 80s F, September feels more like a summer month. The average daily temperature in fall is 56 degrees F, but that’s mainly because November cools off quickly. Daytime temperatures average only 44 degrees F. 

The races run at Keeneland for three weeks in October. The fall meet often gets better weather than its spring counterpart in April, making the track even busier than usual. Lexington sometimes gets snow as early as Halloween, but more often, cold weather doesn’t arrive until early November.

What to Pack: Evenings become consistently cooler throughout the second half of October. If you plan on enjoying restaurant patios around Lexington, bring something light to wear. Although general admission for Keeneland doesn’t have a dress code, many attendees opt for “smart casual.” You will need to be dressed appropriately to enter the clubhouse and other special areas. 

Average Temperatures by Month

  • September: 69 F
  • October: 58 F
  • November: 46 F

Winter in Lexington

Despite plenty of predictions and speculation, no one can guess what winter has in store for Lexington from year to year. In 2019, Lexingtonians enjoyed T-shirt weather (69 degrees F) on Christmas Day, despite temperatures dropping as low as 18 degrees F just a week before, proving how volatile Lexington weather can be. January and February are typically the coldest and darkest months of winter and the snowiest.

Lexington receives an average of 14.5 inches of snow per year, despite heavier snowfall being reported just an hour north of the city near the Ohio River. For comparison, Cincinnati (only 90 minutes to the north) averages 23.3 inches. Occasionally, Lexington's predicted "dusting" turns into enough snow to shut the city down for a few days. In 2009, a late-January ice storm missed by meteorologists caused 700,000 homes and businesses in Kentucky to lose power for over a week.

What to Pack: Because of the area's high humidity, winter temperatures can feel exceptionally frigid as dampness cuts through inadequate clothing. Along with your coat and gloves, consider packing a base layer to wear if you'll be spending time outdoors.

Average Temperatures by Month

  • December: 38 F
  • January: 34 F
  • February: 38 F

Average Monthly Temperature, Rainfall, and Daylight Hours

 Month Temperature Rainfall Daylight Hours
 January 34 F 3.4 inches 10 hours
 February 38 F 3.6 inches 11 hours
 March 46 F  4.5 inches  12 hours
 April 56 F  4.4 inches  13 hours
 May 65 F  5.4 inches  14 hours 
 June 73 F  5 inches  15 hours 
 July 77 F  5.1 inches  14.5 hours
 August 76 F  3.7 inches  13.5 hours 
 September 69 F  3.4 inches  12 hours 
 October 58 F  3.7 inches  11 hours 
 November 46 F  3.4 inches  10 hours
 December 38 F  4.2 inches  9.5 hours

Allergy Season in Kentucky

Lexington residents joke that every season is allergy season in Kentucky. Fall is the best time to visit Lexington, but sufferers of fall allergies should arrive prepared. Ragweed pollen is exceptionally high between August and October. The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America consistently ranks Louisville—only a little over an hour from Lexington—as one of the most challenging places to live with allergies. In 2014, Louisville was awarded the dubious title of worst allergy capital of the United States; in 2021, the city ranked 20th out of 100 metropolitan areas in the United States.