JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – As exceptional drought conditions plague most of the metro area, a question has been on many Mississippian’s minds: has the state ever experienced such dry conditions? 

it is a question not unique to Mississippi. Drought has affected nearby states. This past September was the hottest one on record worldwide. And 2023 is on track to reach the same goal. Using data from the U.S. Drought Monitor, WJTV 12 News has info on how this year’s drought stacks up to those in years past. 

Drought conditions range from D0 to D4.

  • D0: Abnormally dry
  • D1: Moderate drought
  • D2: Severe drought
  • D3: Extreme drought 
  • D4: Exceptional drought

Drought Severity and Coverage Index (DSCI): 0-500

  • 0 means that none of the area is abnormally dry or in drought
  • 500 means that all of the area is in D4, exceptional drought
  • 2023
    • DSCI: 356

Currently, 98.66% of the state is experiencing some level of drought. As of now, most of the Jackson area is experiencing D4 conditions. Over 1.2 million people in central and southern Mississippi are impacted. People who live as far north as Yazoo County, and as far South as Harrison County on the coast are affected. In terms of land area, exceptional drought conditions affect roughly a third of the state. Extreme drought conditions currently span across a fifth of the state, affecting over 550,000 people. 

  • 2016
    • DSCI: 375

The last time the state experienced exceptional drought conditions was in November 2016. The share of Mississippians experiencing D4 conditions was much lower at just over 60,000 people. Extreme drought conditions were much more prevalent, with over 2/3 of the state’s 2,967,297 people being impacted. At its peak, every part of Mississippi and every person was affected by drought.

  • 2011
    • DSCI: 214

D4 conditions stretched from June to July of 2011. At its peak, over 485,000 Mississippians experienced exceptional drought conditions. As many as 816,000 people experienced extreme drought conditions that summer. At its peak, roughly 60% of the state’s land was affected by some level of drought.

  • 2007
    • DSCI: 331

In 2007, there were three distinct periods of exceptional drought between June and October. During that time, the driest period was in June, towards the start of summer. Over 98% of the population experienced some level of drought conditions. Over 423,000 people experienced exceptional drought at one point in June 2007. At this time, 18% of the state’s land dealt with exceptional drought. 

  • 2000
    • DSCI: 464

The worst drought period in recent memory was at the turn of the century from July to November. At the drought’s peak, over 2/3 of the state’s residents experienced exceptional drought conditions. Worse yet, the entire state’s population and all of its land were experiencing either extreme drought or exceptional drought by October 2000.

The U.S. Drought Monitor is produced through a partnership between the National Drought Mitigation Center at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, the United States Department of Agriculture, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Use the Condition Monitoring Observer Report (CMOR) system to these agencies know how dry, wet, or normal conditions are affecting you.