EVANSVILLE -- An abnormally dry, hotter-than-average June is already hurting crops in the Evansville area. 

graphic published Thursday by the National Weather Service noted that less than three-quarters of an inch of rain had fallen in Evansville through the first 23 days of June, the lowest total over that period in any year since 2012. Nearly the entirety of three Tri-State counties — Vanderburgh, Posey and Henderson —  are charted as either being in an "abnormally dry" state or in a "moderate drought" by the U.S. Drought Monitor, and parts of Warrick Spencer counties find themselves in the "abnormally dry" category, too. 

There aren't many chances left in June for rain, either: The weather agency's seven-day forecast currently has Sunday as the only time Evansville might get rain for the foreseeable future. Even then, there's only a 60% chance in the afternoon , along with high temperatures in the low 90s. 

National Weather Service Meteorologist Mike York said the current lack of rain, while not necessarily an immediate problem, is an indicator that a drought-ridden summer may be on its way. York laid blame on a high-pressure system, the same one that caused June's earlier heat wave, that has hovered over the region since mid-May.

More:Tri-State weather: Nice weekend before another blazing hot week

"What sometimes happens when we get into a hot, dry pattern early in the season is it tends to perpetuate," York said. "The drier the ground gets, the less moisture gets in the air. The less moisture in the air, the less rainfall ... and that's how we get into some pretty bad summer droughts."

York called summer droughts a "once a decade" event in the region. He noted the last major drought happened in 2012, when record-breaking heat combined with the lack of substantial precipitation brought on devastating drought conditions to the Midwest. 

With a few summers since then producing record amounts of rainfall in the region, York said the Tri-State is probably due for another one. He said a longer-term rain deficit would begin to impact local water-supply and river levels, while a shorter-term deficit — what York termed a "flash drought" — has the potential to disrupt crop cycles and cause "big concern" for farmers. 

Heavy rainfall, won't make much of a difference, York said, because they happen so quickly and often don't affect widespread areas. This results in the ground not retaining much moisture, and once the clouds and rain retreat and blazing-hot temps resurface, it's back to square one.

"The pattern that we're at, if that were to continue, would have pretty significant impacts on farmers and anyone who depends on soil moisture," York said.

 Local farmers are already concerned.

Eric Wiseman, a manager for Posey County Co-Op, a farmer-owned supply cooperative, said corn and bean crops are already struggling, with some dead already.

He said he'd heard earlier in the day that a section of cornfield in Posey County had completely burned out, with a crop-insurance adjuster already declaring it a "zero" for the year. Wiseman noted that crops with "better dirt" might be able to hold one for two or three weeks – maybe – before they'll really need rain to survive.

"We're gonna need some moisture," Wiseman said. "If you don't have irrigation, there's nothing you can do."

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