Droughts are a slow, long process. In the most general sense, drought means lack of water. The lack of water could be any or all of the following depending on what your needs are:
- soil moisture
- water table
- stream and river flow
Drought is a part of natural cycles but it is also influenced by how we use water in farming, industry, and in our homes, as well as by changing climate. Drought is also relative to what water resources a region typically has. A drought in a wet place like Seattle is not the same as a drought in a dry place like Los Angeles.
Based on reports from all around the United States, the U.S. Drought Monitor is produced through a partnership between the National Drought Mitigation Center at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, the United States Department of Agriculture, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Data is collected weekly up until Tuesday morning. It is analyzed and made available to the public on Thursdays.