Weekly Drought Map

U.S. Drought Monitor

Dataset Tabs Default Display

General

The U.S. Drought Monitor (USDM) is a weekly map—updated each Thursday—that shows the location and intensity of areas currently experiencing abnormal dryness or drought across the United States. The maps use bright colors to highlight experts' current assessments of conditions related to dryness and drought.

Table describing drought impacts

Where do these data come from?

Each week, drought experts consider how much water is available in streams, lakes, and soils compared to usual for the the current time of the year. They evaluate how recent precipitation amounts across the country compare to their long-term averages, and monitor variables such as temperature, soil moisture, snow cover, and meltwater runoff. Experts also check whether areas are showing drought impacts such as water shortages or business interruptions. Based on dozens of indicators and using a "convergence of evidence" approach, experts make their best judgments of regional-scale drought conditions. The final step is to check their assessments with local experts who can check actual conditions. Once they gather and consider this input, they publish the weekly drought map. 

Statistics presented with the weekly map show what portion of various geographic areas are in each category of dryness or drought, and how many people are affected. Note that areas judged to be "Abnormally Dry" are not included in statistics for areas experiencing drought.