Here is a look at the ongoing drought that has been hovering over the American Southeast since spring. It shows six months of aggregated drought areas (drought perimeters of varying intensity, released weekly, collected from June – November of 2016), binned up into 100 square mile hexagonal zones.
These zones are scaled by the proportion of the past six months spent in drought. The fully-scaled zones have experienced drought 100% of the past six months.
The scaled zones are then colored by the aggregate local intensity of the drought. The darkest areas have experienced “exceptional” drought -the most severe category- for most or all of the past six months.
Wildfires, which started in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in the end of November, recently spread north into Gatlinburg. Normally prescribed burns, to reduce the forest understory’s accumulating fire fuel and maintain the natural cycle of fire in the ecosystem, are actually difficult due to the pervasive moisture of the area. But a prolonged drought has made the park ripe for fire.
This map picks up where the Five Years of Drought map’s time span ends. In the previous five years, drought was exceptionally rare in the area.
If you are a nerd, you can follow the steps of how to make this map, here.