What is a Drought?
A drought is a period of drier-than-normal conditions that results in water-related problems. When rainfall is less than normal for a period of weeks to years, streamflow decline, water levels in lakes and reservoirs fall, and the depth to water in wells increases. If dry weather persists and water-supply problems develop, the dry period can become a drought.
The Impacts of Drought:
Immediate drought impacts can include visibly dry vegetation and lower water levels in lakes and reservoirs.
Longer-term impacts, such as land subsidence, seawater intrusion, and damage to ecosystems, can be harder to see, but more costly to manage in the future.
Environmental Impacts of Drought:
Drought Impacts on Ecosystems. It encompasses and emphasizes the environmental consequences of drought, which include losses in plant growth; increases in fire and insect outbreaks; altered rates of carbon, nutrient, and water cycling; and local species extinctions.
Drought can devastate crops, dry out forests, reduce food and water available for wildlife and livestock. There may be significant direct and indirect economic impacts on the agricultural sector, reducing the water availability and water quality necessary for productive farms, ranches, and grazing lands.
Learn more about the agricultural impacts of drought by clicking the Farmers.gov image below.
Where to find up to date information on Drought Conditions:
National Integrated Drought Information System
Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection:
National Weather Service: