Heat and drought::Severe weather


Title::weather    Severe::article    Winds::author    Cause::glossary    Section::weather    Tornado::which

Heat and drought



Crops in Australia that have failed due to drought conditions.

Another form of severe weather is drought, which is a prolonged period of persistently dry weather (that is, absence of precipitation).<ref name=drought>{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=web }}</ref> Although droughts do not develop or progress as quickly as other forms of severe weather,<ref name=creeping>{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=web }}</ref> their effects can be just as deadly; in fact, droughts are classified and measured based upon these effects.<ref name=drought/> Droughts have a variety of severe effects; they can cause crops to fail,<ref name=creeping/> and they can severely deplete water resources, sometimes interfering with human life.<ref name=drought/> A drought in the 1930s known as the Dust Bowl affected 50 million acres of farmland in the central United States.<ref name=drought/> In economic terms, they can cost many billions of dollars: a drought in the United States in 1988 caused over $40 billion in losses, exceeding the economic totals of Hurricane Andrew, the Great Flood of 1993, and the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake.<ref name=creeping/> In addition to the other severe effects, the dry conditions caused by droughts also significantly increase the risk of wildfires.<ref name=drought/>

Heat waves


A map indicating above-normal temperatures in Europe in 2003

Although official definitions vary, a heat wave is generally defined as a prolonged period with excessive heat.<ref name=aussie1>{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=web }}</ref> Although heat waves do not cause as much economic damage as other types of severe weather, they are extremely dangerous to humans and animals: according to the United States National Weather Service, the average total number of heat-related fatalities each year is higher than the combined total fatalities for floods, tornadoes, lightning strikes, and hurricanes.<ref name=heatwave>{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=web }}</ref> In Australia, heat waves cause more fatalities than any other type of severe weather.<ref name=aussie1/> As in droughts, plants can also be severely affected by heat waves (which are often accompanied by dry conditions) can cause plants to lose their moisture and die.<ref name=aussie2>{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=web }}</ref> Heat waves are often more severe when combined with high humidity.<ref name=heatwave/>

Severe weather sections
Intro  Terminology  Causes  Categories  High winds  Hail  Heavy rainfall and flooding  Severe winter weather  Heat and drought  References  

Heat and drought
PREVIOUS: Severe winter weatherNEXT: References