Drought - US and California     

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Understanding the various levels of drought in California and the United States

November 8, 2014 - Todaysdate.com

The news about drought in California is pretty exceptional, painting a very bleak outlook often times, especially for those who don't live in California as media often makes it appear worse than it is. California's drought, as can be seen at this link, is varied throughout the state, where central and northern California is worse than southern. 

As I looked at the US drought map, I found it interesting how the adjectives describing the drought are used and are valued. Here is how they are used:


  • D0 - Abnormally Dry
  • D1 - Moderate Drought
  • D2 - Severe Drought
  • D3 - Extreme Drought
  • D4 - Exceptional Drought

The terms go from D0 to start describing a minor drought, to D4 to describe the worst drought. 

I found these kind of confusing, as the medias have used all of these terms with the exception of "moderate" in their reporting of "the drought" so how does one know exactly which stage we are in if we hear these terms abnormally, severe, extreme, and exceptional, they all sound the same!

So the todaysdate.com version is as follows:

  stage 1 - minimal drought - dryer than normal but not a problem drought
  stage 2 - some drought - much dryer than normal and a concern drought
  stage 3 - moderately severe drought
  stage 4 - extremely severe drought
  stage 5 - severely dangerous threatening life drought - no water!





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