National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce
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Drought is a shortage of water over an extended period of time. Droughts are a normal part of a climate cycle. They occur in all climate zones. Drought can be short or span years. There have been at least three major U.S. droughts in the last 100 years. Two of these, the 1930s Dust Bowl drought and the 1950s drought, each lasted 5-7 seven years and covered large areas of the country with devastating results. Although hurricanes and tornadoes are more dramatic, droughts are among the most costly weather related events and the most far reaching. From 1980–2014, there were 22 drought events with losses exceeding $1 billion (CPI-Adjusted) each across the United States.

Drought may require safety precautions just like other weather hazards. Dry conditions often lead to brush fires or wildfires. Local officials may ask that you not burn brush or trash during dry conditions and comply with other safety precautions. In extreme fire conditions, officials may issue mandatory evacuation orders to protect your life. Always follow these directives. They could save your lives and the life of your family.