First Alert Weather Academy: Droughts

First Alert Weather Academy: Droughts

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - We hear about tornadoes, hurricanes and severe thunderstorms on the news. But there is another form of weather that can, at times, have longer lasting further reaching impacts: droughts.

The National Weather Service defines drought as "a deficiency in precipitation over an extended period, usually a season or more, resulting in a water shortage causing adverse impacts on vegetation, animals and/or people. More or less, it's many days of drier than normal weather.

While a string of sunny days may seem like a good thing, the old phrase "too much of a good thing" applies here. A stretch of dry weather, in both summer and winter, can cause drought in our region.

Now every drought period is going to be different and it depends on soil content and if you have any beetles, but a lot of times, as soon as your grass starts to turn brown – this can be one of the first signs that soil moisture is starting to evaporate and your area may be heading into a drought.

And there are five levels of dryness. The first, or D0, in the lightest yellow is referred to as 'abnormally dry'; reserved for areas that may not be quite to drought conditions but are certainly noticing some impacts like dry grass from the drier than normal weather.

Then there is D1, or moderate drought, some damages to crops are possible. Streams, reservoirs and maybe some lakes will be lower than normal.

D2 is severe drought. This is when conditions start to become more noticeable. Crop and pasture losses are likely. Water shortages become common.

D3; extreme drought. Major crop and pasture losses, widespread water shortages and some water restrictions by local governing agencies are possible.

And the rarest form of drought, but something that happens somewhere in the United States pretty regularly is D4, the darkest red, exceptional drought conditions. Exceptional and widespread crop and pasture losses, shortages of water in reservoirs streams and wells creating water emergencies.

It is important droughts come and go. It takes a long time to get into a drought and it tends to take a while to get out of one. Do your part to save water, even when it is regularly raining.

Ask if your parents have plants that can stand drought conditions. Conserve water – turn off the faucet while you're brushing your teeth. Don't leave the sprinkler running longer than needed and avoid watering during the warmest time of day.

Lastly, is there a way that your family can collect rainwater to use in the yard when you need to; like a rain barrel? Conserving water while it’s plentiful can help water resources last longer when it does stop raining.

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