National Drought Mitigation Center


Drought shrinks but intensifies on U.S. Drought Monitor

October 11, 2012

Drought’s overall footprint shrank a little for the second straight week but areas in extreme and exceptional drought expanded on the Oct. 9, 2012, U.S. Drought Monitor map released today.

South Dakota, Wisconsin and Minnesota all had drought expand or intensify, while Colorado, Indiana and Illinois all showed improvement. Nebraska and Kansas, the states with the greatest area of exceptional drought, showed little change.

Statistics released with the map showed that 53.18 percent of the country was in moderate drought or worse, down from 54.04 percent the week before. The map showed 33.39 percent in severe drought or worse, down slightly from 33.52 percent a week earlier; 16.85 percent in extreme drought or worse, compared with 16.83 percent the week before; and 5.16 percent in exceptional drought, compared with 5.07  percent the preceding week.

South Dakota saw the area in severe or worse drought increase to 91.39 percent this week, up from 82.30 percent the week before. The area in extreme drought increased to 52.65 percent, from 50.48 percent, and the area in exceptional drought increased to 32.57 percent, from 27 percent the preceding week.

Drought Monitor authors synthesize many drought indicators into a single map that identifies areas of the country that are abnormally dry (D0), in moderate drought (D1), in severe drought (D2), extreme drought (D3) and exceptional drought (D4).

The U.S. Drought Monitor map is jointly produced by the National Drought Mitigation Center at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and about 350 drought observers across the country. It is released each Thursday based on data through the previous Tuesday.

Statistics for the percent area in each category of drought are automatically added to the U.S. Drought Monitor website each week for the entire country and Puerto Rico, for the 48 contiguous states, for each climate region, and for individual states:

The National Climatic Data Center maintains drought data based on the Palmer Drought Severity Index, calculated to the beginning of the historic record:

U.S. Drought Monitor map and narrative summary:

Seasonal Drought Outlook:

U.S. Department of Agriculture’s running tally of farm and food impacts from the Drought of 2012:

-- Kelly Helm Smith, National Drought Mitigation Center