A drought is, in many ways, the opposite of a storm. The time from the initial forecast to a storm's arrival is a matter of days. When a storm arrives, the precipitation and other related weather elements can be inconvenient and sometimes destructive. On the other hand, a drought builds quietly, almost in secret, for months. The weather conditions that lead to drought are actually pleasant; not much rain and snow, mild temperatures, bountiful sunshine. Then at some point, long after the weather has turned dry, the impacts of drought come on suddenly and cover a far larger area than any storm.

It's easy to think of drought as withered crops and brown lawns, but a water shortage affects urban as well as rural industries. When water becomes hard to get, it becomes expensive, and it gets rationed. If our present dry weather pattern continues, drought will become severe by this summer, and all of us will be affected.

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