Weekly Drought Map

U.S. Drought Monitor

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General

The U.S. Drought Monitor (USDM) is a weekly map—updated each Thursday—that shows the location and intensity of dry and drought areas across the country.

The maps use bright colors to delineate five categories of dryness and drought. Note that areas considered "Abnormally Dry" are not included in statistics for drought.   

Table describing drought impacts

Drought categories show experts' assessments of conditions related to dryness and drought including observations of how much water is available in streams, lakes, and soils compared to usual for the same time of year.

Where do these data come from?

Each week, drought experts consider how recent precipitation totals across the country compare to their long-term averages. They check variables including temperatures, soil moisture, water levels in streams and lakes, snow cover, and meltwater runoff. Experts also check whether areas are showing drought impacts such as water shortages and business interruptions. Based on dozens of indicators, experts make their best judgments of regional-scale drought conditions, and then check their assessments with experts in the field before publishing weekly drought maps. Associated statistics show what proportion of various geographic areas are in each category of dryness or drought, and how many people are affected.