Does the environment have enough water to sustain ecosystems, agriculture, and local economies that depend on it? According to data from NOAA, despite recent snows and rain, the Eastern Shore still finds itself abnormally dry.
Colors show experts’ assessments of conditions related to dryness and drought. These maps focus on broad-scale conditions, so local conditions may vary. Categories reflect how much water is available in streams, lakes, and soils compared to usual for the same time of year. The darker the shade on the map, the more intense the drought conditions.
What information do experts use to make these maps?
Each week, drought experts consider how recent precipitation totals compare to their long-term averages. They check temperatures, moisture levels in soils, and water levels in streams and lakes. They also watch for indicators of drought such as vegetation stress. Altogether, experts check dozens of indicators to establish consensus for drought categories across the map. Before the weekly map is published, up to 350 people across the country review the draft to check it against reality. Each final map represents experts’ best judgments of regional-scale drought conditions, validated by partners in the field.