Parts of the Tri State have been designated in the highest level of drought by the US Drought Monitor. The latest weekly report shows a small area right along the Ohio River showing as an “exceptional drought” while the rest of Tri State is experiencing “extreme drought conditions.”

While almost all of Indiana, Kentucky, and Illinois are experiencing “severe drought” conditions, our little corner of the world seems to be getting hit the hardest. You can already see the effects of this summer on the corn crops.

The drought information comes from the U.S. Drought Monitor at the National Drought Mitigation Center at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. It’s a joint project between the center and several federal partners like the departments of Agriculture, Commerce, and National Atmospheric and Oceanic Administration.

But what’s the difference between “extreme” and “exceptional” drought? Here’s a handy explanation of what those different drought levels mean:

Level 0, “Abnormally Dry:” This is the lightest level, which means the area is either “going into drought: short-term dryness slowing planting, growth of crops or pastures” or getting out of drought, which means some lingering water deficits; and pastures or crops not fully recovered,” according to the National Drought Monitor.

Level 1, “Moderate Drought:” This level of drought involves “some damage to crops, pastures; streams, reservoirs, or wells low, some water shortages developing or imminent; and voluntary water-use restrictions requested,” according to the monitor.

Level 2, “Severe Drought:” This level means that “crop or pasture losses likely; water shortages common; and water restrictions imposed,” the monitor states.

Level 3, “Extreme Drought:” This is the second-highest level of drought, with “major crop/pasture losses” and “widespread water shortages or restrictions.”

Level 4, “Exceptional Drought:” This is the most intense level of drought. This level involves “exceptional and widespread crop/pasture losses; shortages of water in reservoirs, streams, and wells creating water emergencies.”