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Droughts

  • By: Richard Snow
  • In: Encyclopedia of Disaster Relief
  • Edited by: K. Bradley Penuel & Matt Statler
  • Subject:Public Health (general), Public Policy (general)

Droughts are among the most destructive of weather-related disasters, often causing more damage than a combination of floods, tornadoes, tropical cyclones, and blizzards. Unlike other more spectacular weather events, droughts are slow and insidious. Drought is defined as a period of unusually low water supply as a result of minimal precipitation, low stream levels, or reduced snow or glacier melt. There are distinct types of drought: meteorological, agricultural, hydrological, and environmental. Meteorological droughts are intervening periods of time, which can last for weeks or even years, when the water supply falls well below the anticipated average based on the climate and precipitation pattern of the region. Agricultural droughts occur when soil moisture is low enough to have a negative effect on crops or livestock in ...

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