A drought is generally not the total absence of rain. Rather, it is when precipitation is considerably less than average for an extended period of time, from at least a few months to as long as many years. The point is, it does rain during a drought, but those rains are not enough to erase the general moisture deficit. When the weather has been drier than average for many months, like it has been in our region for about nine months, most of the rains that do fall are quickly absorbed by thirsty plants and dry soil.

A year ago, a one-inch rain would make large puddles. Now it quickly soaks in and the dryness soon returns. The dry soils, brown lawns and stunted crops become a feedback mechanism by causing the ground to get hotter on sunny days which further increases evaporation. It takes a long time for a drought to get going, and it usually takes a long time to come out of a drought.

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