Drought is a continuous period of dry weather, when an area gets less than its normal amount of rain, over months or even years. Crops and other plants need water to grow, and animals need it to live. Droughts can become dangerous to people and other land animals; causing famine and even creating deserts.
The word "drought" comes from the Old English drugað, drugoð "drought, dryness, desert," from Proto-Germanic *drugothaz, from Germanic root *dreug- "dry" (cf high/height) with *-itho, Germanic suffix for forming abstract nouns (see -th (2)).
A drought is a natural event, caused by other weather events like El Niño and high-pressure systems. Drought can also be triggered by deforestation (people cutting down forests), by global warming, and by diverting rivers or emptying lakes.
Drought is a natural disaster which usually takes place slowly. It is often difficult to decide when a drought started and sometimes when it ends too. Its effects often build up slowly over a long period of time and may last from months to years after rain resumes.
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