JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – Newly released data from the National Drought Mitigation Center shows that a “severe drought” has developed in Warren, Yazoo, and Issaquena counties over the last two months. October, November, and December have been dry months across much of Central Mississippi, but the water balance is most strained in the western portion of the state according to scientists. The last time a Level 2 “severe drought” included any part of Central Mississippi was October 2019, over two years ago.

Weekly drought report for Dec. 2, 2021 (Courtesy: University Nebraska-Lincoln)

Storm Team 12 says that the short term drought is centered over the Mississippi Delta and it’s several river basins. Yazoo City and Vicksburg have a rainfall deficit of over six inches in just the last 60 days. An unseasonably dry fall weather pattern, coupled with above normal temperatures, is likely one of the main forces driving the expanding drought.

Hinds and Madison counties are included in a “moderate drought,” which is a Level 1 on a scale of zero to four. The drought monitor is updated every Thursday morning with the latest rainfall and water level data from the previous week. Local Mississippi scientists and climatologists contribute to the weekly report.

Two-month rainfall deficits for Central Mississippi

The Pacific Ocean is currently in a La Nina pattern, which is cooler than normal water temperatures. Those conditions generally lead to a drier and warmer than normal fall and winter across the southern United States. So if dry weather continues, the drought will likely continue to expand across the state.