Billy Reid thought it would be a tough year for his orchard when the area was hit with dry conditions in June. But then it rained. And he says it has continued to rain on his orchard -- something most Tri-State farmers can't say. "It's just unbelievable that every time we need a rain, we get it."
Reid owns Reid's Orchard in Owensboro. Although the Tri-State is suffering its worst drought since 1988 -- his crops are lush. "We've been lucky. We've got beautiful sweet corn coming in this week, green beans will be back in next week, the peach season is in, the apple season will be kicking in and everything is pretty green around here," says Reid, who realizes he's lucky compared to many other area farmers. "I have friends that live in Union County and Henderson County and they've emailed me pictures and there's nothing but brown corn, brown ground, and you know, we're working on our lawnmowers, trying to keep our lawnmowers running so we can keep all the grass mowed."
Although Owensboro's drought conditions are severe to extreme -- the town is like an oasis in the middle of a desert. "We've been lucky to have the rain falls, but a lot of people around us just missed it."
Richard Ritter's Gibson County farm has only gotten 3/10 inch of rain all month. "It's so dry now, there's no way to even plant anything for the fall. So, it's very unusual," says Ritter. "I've never seen the soil so dry that you can't even plant anything."
Gibson County is under what is called an exceptional drought -- the highest level of drought. "My crops are gonna be done early. About the time school starts we'll be out of corn and cantaloupe and watermelon. Normally we can go all through August and September," says Ritter.
While Tri-State drought conditions vary by county -- all areas are battling the heat. Temperatures have climbed to 100 degrees or higher 14 days this season, making it the hottest summer since 1936.