Brown chart with white lettering and pictures showing drought impacts include the following sectors: transportation, agriculture, wildfires, public health, ecosystems, and water quality.

What to Know: Types of Droughts and How They Impact You

Jul 11, 2021 at 8:45pm

Mark Saunders

The Five Types of Drought

According to NOAA, scientists have come to define and monitor droughts in five different categories:

  1. Meteorological: When a dry weather pattern dominates the area, leading to drought-like conditions.
  2. Hydrological: When low water supply becomes clearly observed in an area's water system.
  3. Agricultural: When a region's crops become impacted by drought conditions.
  4. Socioeconomic: When the supply and demand of commodities are impacted by drought conditions.
  5. Ecological: When natural ecosystems in a region are impacted by drought.

Droughts come about slowly, so it's difficult to predict a drought event in the same way that meteorologists can predict and monitor hurricanes, tornadoes, or severe weather.

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