Weather Wise Kids: How Long Does a Drought Normally Last?

Noah Burnham wants to know how long does a drought normally last?

Well Noah, when it comes to a drought, most of us think of a period of hot, dry weather with too little rain. But it’s really much more complicated than that.

Some scientists look at rainfall amounts. Others look at soil moisture or how farms look. Some look at how deep a lake or river is.

When you have all of these things to look at, it can be hard to even know when a drought starts.

Some droughts last several weeks… months… or even years.

Like the Dust Bowl back in the 1930s. This drought got its name for the massive clouds of dry soil and sand. It looked like a black blizzard. It was so bad that the sun was blocked for days at a time. Farmers couldn’t grow crops, and many were forced off their land.

Some say the Dust Bowl lasted eight years. Others say it lasted for as long as 12.

Today, California is now in its fourth year of a record-breaking drought. It’s so dry that several wildfires are raging at any given time.

Some who live in California have given up on having green grass on their yards. Instead, they are either painting the brown grass green or using fake grass.

To save even more water, many homeowners who have pools no longer fill them up or are having them removed.

And it could get worse. No one knows how much longer this drought will last.

The only way to get better is lots and lots of rain over several months. So a rainy day in California would be… a good day.

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