The threat level for droughts is medium, they do not happen every year, but when they do, they can last for years.

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drought (or drouth [archaic]) is an extended period of months or years when a region notes a deficiency in its water supply. Generally, this occurs when a region receives consistently below average precipitation.

It can have a substantial impact on the 
ecosystem and agriculture of the affected region.

Although droughts can persist for several years, even a short, intense drought can cause significant damage
 and harm the local economy.

This global phenomenon has a widespread impact on agriculture.

United Nations estimates that an area of fertile soil the size of  Ukraine is lost every year because of drought, deforestation, and climate instability. Lengthy periods of drought have long been a key trigger for mass migration and played a key role in a number of ongoing migrations and other humanitarian crises in the Horn of Africa and the Sahel.

Droughts can cause the following:

Dehydration from lack of water
Breathing injuries from dust storms
Auto injuries from poor vision during dust storms

May also cause:

Societal breakdowns, food shortages, water shortages

During the drought you will be faced with the rule of 3's basic survival skills

Protect yourself

Learn to use water saving techniques

Watch for dust storms, if you see one coming, seek shelter and stay put until it is over. If you are in your vehicle park, roll up windows and turn off air vents.

Wear a mask and goggles to help keep out dust.

Use Weather Watch to view current drought conditions

Weather Watch  displays maps, graphs, and tables describing real-time, recent, and past streamflow conditions for the United States.

A dust storm approaches Stratford, Texas on April 18, 1935.
A dust storm approaches Stratford, Texas on April 18, 1935. Learn more...
There are actually four different ways that drought can be defined.

  • Meteorological - a measure of departure of precipitation from normal. Due to climatic differences, what might be considered a drought in one location of the country may not be a drought in another location.

  • Agricultural - refers to a situation where the amount of moisture in the soil no longer meets the needs of a particular crop.

  • Hydrological - occurs when surface and subsurface water supplies are below normal.

  • Socioeconomic - refers to the situation that occurs when physical water shortages begin to affect people.

For the continental U.S., the most extensive U.S. drought in the modern observational record occurred from 1933 to 1938, the "Dust Bowl" period. In July 1934, 80% of the U.S. was gripped by moderate or greater drought, and nearly two-thirds (63%) was experiencing severe to extreme drought. During 1953-1957, severe drought covered up to one half of the country.

Image of dry, cracked earthBecause of their widespread occurance, droughts often produce economic impacts exceeding $1 billion. The costliest drought on record was the 1988 drought, which devastated crops in the Corn Belt, causing direct crop losses of $15 billion and much larger additional indirect economic impacts.

There is nothing we can do to prevent droughts since they result from long-term shifts in storm tracks away from the affected region, or persistent wind patterns that reduce the flow of moisture into a region. Often, "blocking weather patterns" that feature persistent, stationary high-pressure regions over an affected area are observed with droughts.

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