(WHTM) — With the lack of rain in the state over the past few weeks, many people have wondered if we are under a drought – But they have also wondered how droughts are measured.

The answer may seem simple, but it actually varies from place to place.

According to the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), they make drought watches, warnings, and emergencies based on four numerical parameters. These include precipitation, the palmer soil dryness index, surface water flow, and groundwater levels.

The DEP has normal ranges for all four indicators mentioned and makes its drought declarations after assessing the departures from the typical ranges for three to 12 months.

Each of these parameters also has its own individual indicator for each county, according to the DEP.

When readings hit a pre-determined trigger level, the indicator is coded as “Normal”, “Watch”, “Warning”, or “Emergency” for that county. The DEP states that these indicators are used to evaluate the drought status of a particular county. These triggers are not drought declarations by themselves.

You can see the four parameters and data in real time for your county by clicking here. The map shows a 90-day precipitation indicator graph, a surface water indicator graph, a groundwater indicator graph, and an additional precipitation graph.

As of April 20, 2023, there are no counties in the state under any kind of drought declaration.