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What do the Drought Monitor categories mean?

Each week on Thursday morning the National Drought Monitor is updated to reflect the latest drought conditions across the US.  You can find a comparison from one week to the next at  But do you know what the different drought categories mean?

The CoCoRaHS group has put together a neat animated YouTube video which explains the different classifications and how frequently they occur.  It is about six minutes long and can be found at

drought monitor weekly comparison